Sausage cherry tomato pasta is a simple pasta dish that’s loaded with flavor from the sweet Italian sausage, burst cherry tomatoes, Pecorino Romano cheese, and fresh hand-torn basil leaves. This pasta is easy to make and can be ready in about 35 minutes.
We are big fans of simple food in our home. By simple I mean food that tastes great but requires very little time.
Sausage cherry tomato pasta was borne out of our love for simplicity, and our lack of time as two busy parents trying to run a business out of our home.
From start to finish, cherry tomato pasta with sausage is easy, and with just a few ingredients all of which can be subbed here and there to accommodate what you might have on hand.
How to make it
Each number corresponds to the numbered written steps below.
- Bring a large pot of salted water (2 tablespoons of kosher salt per gallon of water) to boil. Dice 1 medium onion and slice 5 cloves of garlic.
- Heat a large pan to medium and wait two minutes. Add 1 1/2 pounds of bulk Italian sausage to the pan and cook until browned while using a wooden spoon to break up the sausage. Remove the cooked sausage and set it aside on a plate.
- Turn the heat to medium-low and add a 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil and the onion. Cook the onion until soft, about 3-5 minutes.
- Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes longer or until golden. Add 1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes and cook for 30 seconds more.
- Turn the heat to medium-high and add a 1/2 cup of dry white wine and cook for 2-3 minutes or until it reduces by about half. At this point, your water should be boiling and you can begin to cook 1 pound of penne pasta until 1 minute less than al dente.
- While the pasta is cooking, add 36 ounces (or 3 dry pints) of halved cherry tomatoes to the pan and bring the sauce to a boil, then lower it to a simmer.
- After about 5 minutes the tomatoes will have broken down a bit and you can add the sausage back to the pan and continue cooking at a simmer.
- Once the pasta is 1 minute less than al dente, add it to the pan and stir, or toss to coat with the sauce. Cook for 30-60 seconds longer or until just al dente then remove from the heat. Note: Be sure to reserve your pasta water.
- Add a 1/2 cup of grated Pecorino Romano cheese and stir to combine. Adding the cheese may dry out the pasta a bit. If that happens, simply add some of the reserved pasta water a little at a time to loosen it up.
- Taste test the pasta and adjust salt and pepper levels if required. Once you’re satisfied with the taste, add about a 1/4 cup of packed hand-torn basil leaves and serve in bowls with more Pecorino Romano on the side. Enjoy!
Top tips for pasta with sausage and cherry tomatoes
- The sausage. Grocery stores will often sell “bulk” sausage, which means the sausage meat without the casing. If you have trouble finding this, you can buy sausage links, make a slit down the middle, and remove the meat from the casing. We used sweet Italian sausage for this sausage cherry tomato pasta but you could also use spicy sausage, turkey, or chicken sausage.
- The pasta. We used penne for this dish but any tubular-shaped pasta would work, such as rigatoni, ziti, or even fusilli.
- Wine. We do use white wine in this recipe and recommend using a dry white wine, like a sauvignon blanc or pinot grigio. If you don’t want to use alcohol, you can skip the wine and just use a little extra pasta water.
- Save your pasta water! As with most of our pasta dishes, we recommend always reserving your pasta water. Pasta water is often used to help reconstitute pasta that’s dried out a little. This often happens with cream sauces, but can happen to any pasta especially when cheese is added. Pasta water returns the pasta and sauce to a glossy consistency. It also helps emulsify sauces.
- Spice it up. If you like extra spice, by all means, add some Calabrian chili paste to this pasta. We usually serve it on the side and add a little at a time.
More simple pasta recipes
We love sausage cherry tomato pasta because it’s so easy, and here are a few others that are equally simple!
- Penne al Baffo – pasta with ham in a creamy pink sauce.
- Beans and Greens Sausage Pasta – crumbled sausage, escarole, and spinach with pasta and cannellini beans.
- Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe and Sausage – garlicky pasta with sauteed broccoli rabe and crumbled sausage.
If you’ve enjoyed this pasta with sausage and cherry tomatoes or any recipe on this site, give it a 5-star rating and leave a review.
Sausage Cherry Tomato Pasta
- 1 pound penne pasta or rigatoni, ziti, etc
- 1 1/2 pounds bulk Italian sausage
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion diced
- 5 cloves garlic sliced
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 36 ounces cherry tomatoes or 3 dry pints
- 2 cups reserved pasta water will most likely not need it all
- 1/2 cup Pecorino Romano grated, plus more for serving
- 1/4 cup packed basil leaves hand torn
- Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.
- Heat a large pan to medium and wait 2 minutes. Add the sausage to the pan and cook until browned while breaking up with a wooden spoon (about 10 minutes). Remove the cooked sausage and set aside in a plate.
- Turn the heat to medium-low and add the olive oil and onion. Cook the onion until soft (about 3-5 minutes) then add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes more or until lightly golden. Add the chili flakes and cook for 30 seconds more.
- Next, turn the heat to medium-high and add the wine and cook for 2-3 minutes or until reduced by about half. Meanwhile, cook your pasta until 1 minute less than al dente.
- While the pasta is cooking add the tomatoes to the pan and bring the sauce to a boil then lower to a simmer. After the tomatoes break down a bit (about 5 minutes) add the sausage back to the pan and continue cooking at a simmer.
- Add the pasta to the sauce and stir well and/or toss to coat. Cook for 30- 60 seconds more then remove the pan from the heat. Add in the Pecorino Romano and if the sauce is too dry add some of the pasta water a bit at a time to loosen it up.
- Taste test and adjust salt levels if required. When satisfied with the taste add in the basil and serve with more Pecorino Romano cheese on the side. Enjoy!
- Penne was used, but any tubular-shaped pasta works well.
- Calabrian chili paste can be subbed for the hot red pepper flakes.
- Leftovers can be saved for up to 3 days and can be reheated in the microwave.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.