Spicy Tomato & Sausage Pasta (small batch)

Wednesday 30 December 2020

  Spicy Tomato & Sausage Pasta

This tasty pasta recipe I am sharing with you today makes for an excellent mid-week supper.  I am in the process of down-sizing a lot of my recipes, so this is a small batch recipe and feeds two people generously.  
If you are just one, you will have one serving to eat now and one serving to freeze for later on!  Many of us are having to survive in limited circumstances at the moment, without having a lot of others around to feed. Recipes that just feed one or two are certainly going to come in very handy. 

Spicy Tomato & Sausage Pasta 

You can also certainly double or triple any recipe to serve more if you wish. I try to always share recipes that are very "cook" and family-friendly, using simple ingredients and methods, so they are easily adaptable to many tastes and needs. 

This recipe I am sharing today uses very simple ingredients. Italian sausage, marinara sauce, onions, garlic, Pesto, spinach, cheeseand pasta.  There is nothing too out of the ordinary at all. Generally speaking I will always have most of these ingredients in my store-cupboard.

You can certainly make your own Marinara sauce for this, but a good bottled one works very well. Just buy the best one you can afford to buy. There are some really great ones out there.

Its a bit of a cheat using jarred marinara sauce, but it does make for quite a time saving.  If you use a really good quality one however, it won't really matter.

I like to use sweet Italian Sausage, but that is a personal preference. Feel free to use a hot Italian Sausage if you wish. In the UK I used to pick up my Italian Sausage at Costco. They had some lovely ones.

I have not sourced it here in Middleton yet, but I think that you can buy it in most of the Grocery stores. I live in a really small town at the moment, so I have only a few places to choose from. In larger urban centres you will be literally spoilt for choice!

When I was growing up my mother used to make us Spaghetti Bolognese once a week just about every week. It consisted of her browning a pound of ground beef and adding a can of Catelli Spaghetti Sauce.  That was Italian to her! 

I wasn't very fond of the meat in the sauce, so she used to save out a spoonful of the sauce for me without meat in it. That's a mother's love for you. It is limitless and without judgment! 

For this sauce you just remove the skins from the sausage and crumble it into a skillet. (Its really easy to take it out of the casings.  Just slip a sharp knife into the casing to make a cut and slip it right off.)Add the onions and garlic and brown it all together. 

Once you have everything browned off you can add your marinara sauce. I used the President's Choice Marinara Sauce from the Atlantic Super Store. Their products are usually quite good. I recommend Lloyd Grosman Tomato and Basil sauce if you are in the UK.

You let it all simmer for about 15 minutes and by that time it should be nice and thick. You are going to stir some Basil Pesto into it for even more flavour. 

I used to like making my own Basil Pesto when I was in the UK.  I am still finding my feet over here in Canada, so just use whatever brand of Pesto that you like to use. 

Once I get into my own place I plan on growing my own Basil if possible. I would like to have a little window sil herb garden.

I just need to source a good place to buy seeds from. Any recommendations?  I am flying in the dark here. 

Once you have the sauce made, all you need to do is to combine it with your cooked pasta, the cheese and fresh spinach. I adore fresh spinach in bakes like this. If they are very long, I always remove the stems. If short, I leave as is.

I also always use whole wheat or smart pasta if possible. Its just healthier and to be honest, I can't really tell the difference, especially in a bake like this. 

Every bit of extra fibre helps!  I try to pack it into my diet wherever I can. Funny how when you are young, you don't really think about things like that. I didn't at any rate.

Now I am older and have more years behind me than ahead of me, I think about things like fibre and fat. And sugar. I try to do my best when I can. 

Don't we all! Youth is wasted on the young. If I had known then what I know now, I might have done a lot of things differently, especially diet wise, but alas I did not. All I can do is the best that I can now.

I like to reserve a bit of cheese to sprinkle on top after I spoon everything into the casserole dish.  A bit of cheese on top always goes down a real treat.

The casserole I used for this was a small pyrex one. It was about 7 inches square and two inches deep. It was just the perfect size for this.

The flavours in this are spot on and so delicious.  I adore casseroles like this. Simple to throw together and using simple ingredients. 

They make the perfect midweek supper for those nights when you are not feeling truly inspired but you still want to put a tasty meal on the table. NO fuss and NO faff spells winner to me!

Spicy Tomato & Sausage Pasta

This is one dish that has a lot going for it flavourwise!  Well everyway-wise really. Quick, easy and delicious works for me every time, and when I can manage that pint sized, even better!

All you need for this is a salad on the side. The glutton in me always loves a bit of garlic bread with it as well, but an ordinary crusty loaf or roll also goes very well!

Spicy Tomato & Sausage Pasta

Spicy Tomato & Sausage Pasta
Yield: Serves 2
Author: Marie Rayner
prep time: 20 Mincook time: 30 Mintotal time: 50 Min
I cheat a bit with this by using a good jarred marinara sauce, but I think you will agree that this dish is fabulously tasty! Quick, easy and delicious! You can easily double to serve 4. It also freezes well.


For the Sauce:
  • splash of olive oil
  • 1/2 pound Italian sausage links, casings removed and discarded
  • 1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
  •   2 small cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 (26 ounce/730g) jars/carton of good marinara sauce
  •   3TBS of good Basil Pesto
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
You will also need:
  • 1/2 pound (225g) penne pasta, uncooked
  • 4 ounces (115g) of finely diced or grated mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup (90g grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 3 ounces (85g) baby spinach leaves 


  1. Heat a large heavy bottomed pan over medium high heat. Add a small splash of olive oil, then crumble in the sausage meat. Cook, breaking up with a spoon, until the sausage is evenly browned and no pink remains.
  2. Add the onion and saute for about 5 minutes longer. Add the garlic, cook for 1 minute and then add the marinara sauce. Reduce the heat to medium.
  3. Simmer for about 10 minutes, then stir in the pesto, salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings to your taste. Set aside.
  4. Cook the pasta according to package directions in a large pot of lightly salted water. Drain well.
  5. Preheat the oven to 190*C/375*F/ gas mark 6. Butter a 9 by 13 inch baking dish. Spoon a thin layer of sauce over the bottom of the dish.
  6. Combine the pasta with the remaining sauce, the spinach leaves (I like to try to pick off and discard any large stems), the mozzarella cheese, and 60g of the Parmesan cheese (1/3 cup) Mix well to combine and then spoon into the prepped casserole dish. Scatter the remaining Parmesan cheese over top.
  7. Bake in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes, until the casserole begins to bubble and the cheese is golden. Serve hot.
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Spicy Tomato & Sausage Pasta

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  1. This looks very much like what I make all the time! And if it is, then I know it's delicious! Happy new Year, Marie!

    1. It is fabulously tasty Jeanie! Happy New Year! Xoxo


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