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Creamy Tomato and Sausage Pasta

~ Nourishing whole wheat pasta, topped with a super-easy(and healthier!) creamy tomato sauce, accented with turkey sausage and fresh basil. It’s a really fast, yet satisfyingly delicious dinner! ~

This Recipe Is:     Ready in 30 Minutes or Less  

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It’s just so sadly ironic, really. The plight of this poor recipe. (Imagine sweetly sorrowful violin music here, and maybe a deep, droopy bassoon.)

“Ironic? But why?” You must be thinking in astonishment. “This recipe looks amazing!” (Well, you’re right about that – it sure is.)

And you’re probably sizing it up now: “A satisfying bed of pasta draped in a lusciously creamy tomato sauce, studded with gorgeous fresh basil and the flavorful kick of Italian sausage! My, oh my!” (Are you actually thinking that to yourself?!?!)

Next you’re glancing at the ingredient list. (Go ahead and take a peek … we’ll wait for you right here …… Ok – are you back? Good.)

So now you’re thinking, “Huh. I just don’t see the irony. It’s great! All that creamy-dreamy-satisfying pasta goodness, yet totally loaded with nutrition!” (Yeah – you’re right again! And notice how the spinach is chopped right up so it pretty much looks just like the basil and even your veggie-averse kiddos won’t worry about it … yep … brilliant!)

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Honestly, we’ve been dying to share this recipe with you for more than a year now. No, really! Shelley created it back before we’d even started posting recipes here at THK.

We love it, and we know you’ll love it, too!

It totally passed its battery of THK taste tests with flying colors, and we actually photographed it and had it all ready for you clear back last summer.

On a gorgeously sunny July day, as our kids played with neighborhood friends … we staged and posed this pasta in all its creamy-tomatoey deliciousness, just so we could be ready to share it with you. In fact, after it was photographed, there was a line of kids begging for lunch. They ate all of it.


So Where’s The Irony????

You’re just not seeing a problem, right? No need for sad violin and droopy bassoon?

Well, here’s the thing.

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This pasta dinner is so family-pleasingly yummy, and so gosh-darn easy … that it’s awesome pretty much any day (every day!?!?!?) of the year! Any Day! Even busy, busy days!

And that’s where the problem comes in.


That’s the irony, friends! (Cue sappy violin and droopy bassoon …)

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As you begin chopping the spinach and the basil, you’ll see that they look nearly identical. We often chop a bit of spinach right along with basil in salads or pasta recipes like this. You won’t taste the spinach but it adds great nutrition!

We kept bumping it down the line of our jam-crammed editorial schedule!

It didn’t have apples or pumpkin for fall (but no worries, we could post it any day) … bump!

It wasn’t a luscious treat for Sweetest Day or orange-and-black-and-spooktacular for Halloween (but we really could post it just any day) … bump again!

It wasn’t a Christmas cookie or a Super Bowl snack or a heart-shaped Valentine treat … bump, bumpbump

And so this wonderfully perfect-for-any-day recipe just kept waiting, all ready and delicious … just waiting for you!

Now, after the long, agonizing, ironic wait … NOW is the day friends!

Nestled between the Shamrock Shake of St. Paddy’s Day and the upcoming egg-aliciousness of Easter … NOW is the day! (Imagine the violins and bassoons giving way to the fanfare of trumpets and happily trilling flutes …)

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THK Shortcut: If you’re pressed for time, don’t worry about transferring the penne to a serving bowl and artfully topping it with the tomato cream sauce – just toss the pasta right into the skillet with your finished sauce, stir it all together, and take it on over to the table for homestyle serving! So easy!

This so-good-you-will-make-it-again-and-again-ANY-DAY pasta … has now had its day.

We love it. You’ll love it. It’s easy and healthy and delicious. And it’s perfect any day.

… more trilling fanfare …

Our work here is done.

Creamy Tomato and Sausage Pasta

Creamy Tomato and Sausage Pasta

Yield: 8 cups
Prep Time: 12 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 22 minutes

Nourishing whole wheat pasta is topped with a super-easy (and healthier!) creamy tomato sauce, all accented with savory sausage and fresh basil. It's a really fast, yet satisfyingly delicious dinner!

  Ready in 30 Minutes or Less  


  • 12 ounces whole wheat penne pasta
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 10-12 ounces sweet Italian turkey sausage (bulk, or links with casings removed)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can chunky tomato bisque (we use Amy's Organic)
  • 2/3 cup reduced-fat ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese (plus more for garnish, if desired)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed baby spinach, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup loosely packed basil, finely chopped


  1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain.
  2. Meanwhile, preheat a nonstick skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Add olive oil and then onions, cooking until onions are translucent and beginning to soften (about 3-4 minutes). Add sausage and garlic. Continue cooking until sausage is cooked through, stirring to crumble (about 5 minutes more).
  3. Add bisque, ricotta, parmesan, salt, and pepper to skillet and cook until heated through. Remove from heat and stir in spinach and basil.
  4. Serve sauce over warm penne. Alternately, you can toss the pasta right into the skillet with your tomato sauce, stir it together, and serve it homestyle, directly from the skillet.
  5. Garnish with parmesan, if desired.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 servings Serving Size: 1 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 190Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 42mgSodium: 457mgCarbohydrates: 16gFiber: 2gSugar: 1gProtein: 15g

Nutrition information should be considered an estimate only, and may vary depending on your choice of ingredients or preparation. No guarantees are made regarding allergies or dietary needs. Always consult a physician or dietician for specific advice and questions.

Did You Make This Recipe?

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  1. You’re right, it IS sad you couldn’t share this earlier! It’s so delicious! Good, easy, and delicious pasta dish. So perfect for anytime! Love it!

    1. Hahaha – well at least I’ve shared it … and now you’ve found it … so I guess all is right with the world lol! 😉 I’m so happy you thought it was yummy – every time I make this pasta recipe, I just fall in love with it all over again. So, it’s wonderful to hear how much other people enjoy it, too – THANKS! ~Shelley

    1. Agreed! I just adore pasta recipes, and I love using Italian turkey sausage in my cooking – it still adds so much wonderful flavor but is leaner than regular. I can’t wait for you to try this recipe, Michele – it’s so very easy and so, so good! Enjoy! ~Shelley

  2. This pasta would make me feel a lot better! And you are right sometimes the simple meals are what we need.

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