Rigatoni pasta with sausage, marinara sauce, mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, and fresh basil is the perfect recipe for an easy, delicious weeknight dinner.
You know those nights when you don’t know what to make for dinner and aren’t feeling motivated to make dinner? Yeah, we have those nights too. Well, when it’s one of those nights, I like to turn to Rigatoni with Sausage because it’s easy to make and one of my boys’ favorite meals. Plus, we always have pasta in our pantry, pasta always saves the day and who doesn’t love pasta? Pasta is always a dinner winner at our house, especially when garlic bread is served on the side.
What is Rigatoni Pasta?
Rigatoni pasta is larger than penne pasta and not cut on a diagonal. The pasta noodles are larger and slightly curved in a tube shape. I love using rigatoni for this recipe because the noodles are hearty and they hold the meaty sauce well. If you don’t have rigatoni, you can use penne or ziti.
How to Make Rigatoni with Sausage
- To boil the pasta, bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil, add generously salt the water. Add the rigatoni and stir gently. Return to a boil and cook until al dente, about 12 to 14 minutes. Drain.
- While the rigatoni is cooking, make the sauce. Make sure you use a large sauce pan that will hold the sauce and pasta.
- Use Italian sausage, we use mild because of the kids, but if you want a kick to the sauce, you can use spicy Italian sausage. Or if you use mild Italian sausage, you can always heat things up with crushed red pepper flakes.
- Cook the sausage, breaking it up into smaller pieces with a wooden spoon. When cooked and no longer pink, transfer the sausage with a slotted spoon to a plate that has been lined with paper towels. The paper towels will soak up some of the grease. Discard all but one tablespoon of the fat.
- Cook the onion and garlic and then add the marinara sauce. Make sure you use a GOOD sauce. You can use our easy marinara sauce or slow cooker marinara sauce, but if you don’t have time to make the sauce you can use store bought sauce. We love DeLallo or Rao’s brands.
- Let the sausage sauce simmer for 10 minutes and then gently stir in the cooked pasta. Add the fresh mozzarella cheese and parmesan cheese and simmer until cheese melts, stirring occasionally so the pasta and cheese doesn’t stick to the pan. If you don’t have fresh mozzarella, you can use shredded mozzarella cheese, but we prefer fresh mozzarella for this recipe.
- Garnish with fresh basil and crushed red pepper flakes, if desired. You can add extra parmesan cheese.
Garlic bread is the obvious choice, pasta and garlic bread are a match made in heaven. If you want to go all out, you can make our Caprese Garlic Bread. We love making it during the summertime when our garden tomatoes are ripe and ready.
If you want to add a lighter side dish, I suggest roasted broccoli, roasted lemon parmesan green beans, or a simple green salad with basil vinaigrette.
This easy Rigatoni with Sausage makes a great weeknight dinner and the leftovers are great for lunch or dinner the next day! This rigatoni pasta is a family favorite, easy to make and classic comfort food!
More Pasta Recipes:
- Sheet Pan Pasta Bake
- Baked Ziti
- Pasta Primavera
- One Pot Sausage Pasta
- Spaghetti and Meatballs
- 5-Ingredient Spinach Parmesan Pasta
- Pasta Pomodoro