Pesto Pasta with Sausage is a delicious dish that will tick all of your boxes. With juicy pork sausages, store bought pesto, penne pasta and toasted pine nuts this sausage and pesto pasta has taste and texture! Easy to make it gets dinner on the table in a fuss free, effortless manner.
Everything that you will come to know and love about this recipe is summarised in the points below:
- Everyday ingredients: the ingredients you need to make the recipe are all simple and easy to find at the local shops.
- Freezer friendly: once the dish is made and cooled, portion into containers for those nights that you don't feel like cooking from scratch. Then simply heat and eat!
- Non traditional: we all love spaghetti bolognese, but sometimes it is nice to switch it up a little and try new recipes which offer different tastes and flavours.
- Combination of flavours: there is something seriously delicious about a fork full of a piece of succulent meaty sausage, slippery pesto sauce and crunchy pine nuts, an irresistible flavour combination!
- Comfort food: this is a hearty recipe that has great flavour, protein and carbs! You will feel satisfied after eating and well fed until the next meal.
Here are the ingredients needed to make the recipe. For exact measurements and step by step guide, scroll to the printable recipe card below.
- Penne Pasta: I like using this one for this recipe as the pesto sauce and pine nuts find their way into the tubular pasta in a delicious textural way. If wanting to try a different pasta, go for rigatoni, macaroni or ziti.
- Pork sausages: try and get juicy thick sausages. They will provide maximum flavour to the combination of other ingredients. We remove the casing from the sausages and cut the sausages into chunky pieces.
- Pine nuts: these are the perfect ingredient to add texture to the dish. Toasting them turns them a lovely golden brown and helps to bring out their flavour.
- Olive oil: we heat this in the pan and add our garlic, sausage meat, salt and pepper to it. Stirring as we go to cook the sausages.
- Salt and pepper: just a little of each to season the dish as we cook it.
- Parmesan cheese: perfect to grate over the pasta for serving, it will melt if you do this when the pasta is still hot!
- Parsley: optional however, a great garnish to add both colour and a little herby freshness to the dish.
- Lemon: another optional ingredient. I like to serve this with fresh lemon wedges as shown in the photos. It adds a bright, zesty zing to the recipe!
- Reserved pasta water: we need 1 cup of this. You can scoop it out or drain and reserve. This gets added to the pesto to make the pesto pasta sauce.
Top Tip: remove the casing from the sausages and cut them into chunky pieces. The meat will be more wet and juicy and emit flavour throughout the rest of the dish.
Here are the step by step instructions to make the recipe. We start by toasting the pine nuts in a large pan. The removing them and setting aside.
- Toast the pine nuts (Photo 1)
- Add oil, sausage meat, garlic, salt and pepper to pan (Photo 2)
- Add pesto and 1 cup of reserved pasta water (Photo 3)
- Stir to combine creating the pesto sauce (Photo 4)
How to Make Pesto Pasta with Sausage
Start by toasting the pine nuts in a large pan. You won't need oil to do this.
Once they are toasted, remove them from the pan. Heat the olive oil, then add sausages, garlic, salt and pepper. Cook for 10 to 15 mins until sausage meat is cooked through.
Use this time to also cook the pasta. Drain it and use a heatproof jug to collect 1 cup of the pasta water.
Add the pesto and reserved pasta water to the pan and stir to combine, creating the pesto sauce.
- Add cooked pasta to the pesto sauce (Photo 5)
- Add back to the pan the cooked sausages (Photo 6)
- Toss the pasta in the pesto sauce (Photo 7)
- Add nuts, parsley, parmesan cheese and lemon wedges (Photo 8)
My serving suggestions for this one are through the garnishes, eg the fresh lemon wedges, toasted pine nuts and grated parmesan cheese.
It really is a meal in one and you won't likely need anything to go with it.
You could serve garlic bread if you wish or save that for a night when you don't already have high carbs and lots of protein at the same time.
Substitutions and Variations
As always, I like to provide some sub ins and outs so that you have options for example if pork sausages are not your favourite. Try any of the following:
- Use Italian sausages instead of pork sausages.
- Try chicken sausages for a change.
- Serve this as a cold pasta salad instead of a hot pasta dinner.
- Make the recipe with whole wheat pasta eg whole wheat spaghetti!
- Use gluten free pasta if that is your preference.
- Make and use homemade pesto instead of store bought.
How to Guide
How to Store
Once the dish has been cooked, allow it to cool then portion into containers. It will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days. If wanting to store for longer, it is best to freeze.
How to Freeze
Let the dish cool before portioning into containers.
The containers can be frozen for up to 3 months.
How to Reheat
You will get the best results if you allow the dish to fully thaw before trying to reheat.
You can use the microwave or fry pan on the stove. Heat for 2 to 3 mins in the microwave or 5 to 10 minutes on the stove.
Frequently Asked Questions
What meat goes with pesto?
Pesto goes well with a wide variety of meats. Be it beef, pork, chicken or fish, there are unlimited ways to pair it.
What goes with pesto noodles?
If you want to serve pesto noodles as a side, you could serve with with salmon, meatballs, lamb or chicken.
What can I do with lots of pesto?
Pesto can be used to make a pasta sauce, spread on grilled cheese, as a base for pizzas and many more ideas!
Pesto freezes well and can be stirred through pasta easily for a quick dinner idea!
What type of pasta is best with pesto?
Pesto goes well with a wide variety of pastas. Try it with spaghetti, fettucine, ziti, macaroni, spiral pasta or rigatoni!
If you love getting your twirl on and making pasta dishes, here are some more that I know you will love.
- Garlic Bacon Pasta
- Instant Pot Pasta Primavera
- Instant Pot Rigatoni with Jar Sauce
- Creamy Mushroom Tagliatelle
- Bacon Pesto Pasta
- Easy Instant Pot Chicken Spaghetti
You can also check out all of my pasta recipes in the one spot!
Pesto Pasta with Sausage
- 1 Large fry pan with lid
- 1 Wooden spoon
- 1 Sauce pan to cook the pasta
- 1 Heatproof jug to reserve the pasta water
- 1 Colander to drain the pasta
- 100 grams pine nuts
- 2 tbs olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 500 grams pork sausages Note 1
- 500 grams penne pasta
- parmesan cheese optional for garnish
- parsley optional for garnish
- cracked black pepper to serve
Pesto Pasta Sauce
- 300 grams pesto Note 2
- 1 cup reserved pasta water
- lemon cut into wedges to serve
- Cook the pine nuts: add the pine nuts to a large pan, cook on medium heat until lightly toasted then remove from pan and set aside.
- Cook the sausages and garlic: heat 2 tbs of olive oil in pan, add the chopped garlic, salt and pepper. Cook at medium heat for 10 to 15 mins then remove from the pan and set aside.
- Cook the pasta: read and follow the instructions on the packet of pasta too cook it. Spoon 1 cup of the pasta water out as it will be added to the pesto creating the sauce.
- Make the sauce: reduce the heat to low, add the pesto to the pan and pour in 1 cup of the reserved pasta water. Stir to combine the pesto sauce.
- Combine: add the cooked pasta and cooked sausages to the pan and toss with the pesto sauce. Turn the heat up and allow to dish to heat through.
- For serving: sprinkle the toasted pine nuts, parmesan cheese and chopped parsley on top of the dish. Provide fresh lemon wedges for serving.
- Enjoy: add a touch of cracked black pepper, portion and then dig in!
- Note 1 - Sausages: I recommend thick pork sausages. The ones I am using have sautéed onion and sage in them. We remove the casing from the sausages and cut them into chunky pieces. This way the flavor of the sausages come out and mix into the pesto pasta sauce.
- Note 2 - Pesto: store bought is totally find for this recipe. I use a basil pesto dip from the fridge section as I find it has more texture than a store bought jar of pesto. It is important to reduce the heat when making the pesto sauce as to not brown the pesto.