This Cheesy Sausage Pasta with peppers and creamy tomato sauce is an easy pasta bake that is full of flavor and super easy to make. Not only is it great for busy weeknights, it’s also a perfect freezer meal or make-ahead option.
Italian Sausage and Peppers Pasta Bake
When it comes to hearty comfort food, pasta bakes like this Sausage and Peppers Pasta recipe top my list. Not only are they hearty, flavorful, and delicious, they are also kid-friendly and can be easily prepped ahead of time.
For the sausage, any type of ground sausage or sliced Italian sausage will work great. You can even substitute ground beef, or ground turkey if you want. I like to use a variety of bell peppers to keep the dish colorful, but that’s completely up to you.
Feel free to season with red pepper flakes to make things a little spicy, add extra veggies, or use a different type of cheese. And for a pasta bake with more meat and less veggies, you can also try our Ground Beef Pasta Bake.
Ingredients in Cheesy Sausage Pasta
- Pasta - you can use penne pasta, cavatappi, or whatever pasta you have on hand. Make sure to cook just to al dente so that it doesn’t become too mushy after it bakes in the oven.
- Sausage - you can use spicy hot or mild ground sausage for this recipe. Ground beef, or ground turkey would work as well. If you prefer larger pieces, you can use Italian sausage cut or sliced into bite-sized pieces.
- Onion- you can use either white or yellow onions, cut into small ½” pieces.
- Salt and Pepper
- Bell Peppers - you will need three total bell peppers for this pepper sausage pasta recipe, cut into small ½” pieces. I like to use a variety of colors to make the dish colorful, but you could also just use one single color of pepper.
- Spaghetti Sauce - for the sauce, you can use your favorite spaghetti sauce, marinara sauce, meat sauce, or even diced tomatoes seasoned with Italian seasonings. For homemade versions, try our Roasted Marinara Sauce with Fresh Tomatoes in the summer, or The Best Homemade Marinara Sauce throughout the rest of the year!
- Cream Cheese - you’ll need one 8 ounce brick of cream cheese for this recipe. In order to mix it into the sausage and pasta mixture, you’ll want to cut it into ½” pieces. If you want to make it even creamier, you can add 2-3 tablespoons of heavy cream as well.
- Parmesan Cheese - use freshly grated or shredded Parmesan cheese, not the stuff from the can.
- Mozzarella Cheese - you’ll need a total of 1½ cups of shredded mozzarella cheese. Half will go into the mixture and half will be sprinkled over the top before baking.
How to Make Cheesy Sausage and Pepper Pasta
- Cook the pasta. Cook pasta to al dente, according to package instructions, then drain and set aside.
- Cook the sausage. Heat a large pot over medium heat and add the sausage. Brown the sausage while stirring until no longer pink. Remove cooked sausage, drain on a paper towel lined plate, and set aside.
- Add the onion and peppers. To the same pan, add the diced onions, salt, pepper, and bell peppers with a tablespoon of olive oil. Cook over medium heat until the onions are translucent and the peppers are soft.
- Make the sausage mixture. Add the cooked sausage, spaghetti sauce, and cream cheese and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat slightly, stir to melt and mix up the cream cheese, then add the pasta, Parmesan cheese, and half of the mozzarella cheese. Mix to combine.
- Assemble. Spray a 9" x 13" baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and add the pasta mixture, then top with the rest of the mozzarella cheese.
- Bake. Bake uncovered in a preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the cheese on top is lightly golden and the sauce is bubbling.
- Serve. Remove from the oven and let cool for at least 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy!
Cheesy Sausage Pasta Bake Variations
- Spicy Sausage: Add some heat to your pasta bake by swapping out mild sausage for spicy sausage. You can also add some red pepper flakes for an extra kick.
- Vegetarian: you can use vegetarian sausage crumbles or skip the sausage altogether and add extra veggies like mushrooms.
- Three Cheese: Amp up the cheesiness of your pasta bake by using a combination of mozzarella, cheddar, and parmesan cheese.
- Alfredo Sauce: Instead of using a classic tomato-based sauce, experiment with alfredo sauce for a creamy and indulgent twist.
- Add Veggies: Mix in some veggies like broccoli, spinach, or zucchini to add some nutrition to your pasta bake.
- Gluten-Free: Use gluten-free pasta and breadcrumbs to make this recipe safe for those with gluten sensitivities.
- Meat-Lover's: If you want even more meat in your pasta bake, you can add in some cooked bacon or ground beef.
- Italian Style: For a twist on classic sausage pasta bake, add in some Italian herbs like oregano, basil, and thyme.
Frequently Asked Question
You can use any type of ground sausage, ground beef, or even sliced sausage for this recipe. It really just depends on what you prefer. If you choose to go with a mild or spicy Italian sausage, you’ll want to precook it until the sausage has browned on all sides before adding to the mixture. If you want to go super healthy, you could even use ground turkey, or skip the meat completely.
Consider this pasta dish is full of meat, starch, veggies, and cheese, you really don’t need to serve it with anything. However, if you want to prepare a side dish to go along, a few of my personal favorites include this Fall Harvest Salad, our Quick Dinner Rolls, or basically any of these potato side dish recipes.
Yes! Baked cheesy sausage pasta like this can make great freezer meals. Just prepare, assemble, wrap well, and store frozen for up to 2 months. Once you are ready to serve, let it thaw in the fridge overnight. The next day, pull the baking dish out of the fridge while you preheat the oven and bake as directed.
Storing and Reheating
- Refrigerator: store leftover Sausage and Peppers Pasta in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
- Freezer: unbaked pasta bake can be covered and stored frozen for up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge before baking.
- To reheat: you can reheat in a preheated 350 degree oven by adding a little extra spaghetti sauce or marinara sauce. Or, reheat a small portion in the microwave.
Cheesy Sausage and Peppers Pasta Recipe
- 16 ounces Pasta penne, cavatappi, or your favorite pasta
- 1 pound Ground Sausage hot or mild
- 1 medium Onion cut into ½" pieces
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- ¼ teaspoon Pepper
- 1 whole Green Bell Pepper ½" dice
- 1 whole Red Bell Pepper ½" dice
- 1 whole Yellow Bell Pepper ½" dice
- 24 ounces Spaghetti Sauce or marinara sauce
- 8 ounces Cream Cheese cut into ½ inch chunks
- ½ cup Parmesan Cheese grated
- 1½ cups Mozzerella Cheese shredded (reserve half for sprinkling over the top)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Cook pasta to al dente, according to package instructions, then drain and set aside.
- Heat a large saucepan over medium heat and add the ground sausage. Cook while stirring until the sausage is no longer pink. Remove cooked sausage, drain on a paper towel lined plate, and set aside.
- To the same pan, add the diced onions, salt, pepper, and bell peppers with a tablespoon of olive oil. Cook over medium heat until the onions are translucent and the peppers are soft.
- Add the cooked sausage, spaghetti sauce, and cream cheese and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat slightly, stir to melt and mix up the cream cheese, then add the cooked pasta, Parmesan cheese, and half of the mozzarella cheese. Mix to combine.
- Spray a 9" x 13" baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and add the pasta mixture, then top with the rest of the mozzarella cheese.
- Bake uncovered in a preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the cheese on top is lightly golden and the sauce is bubbling.
- Remove from the oven and let cool for at least 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy!
More of the Best Pasta Recipes
- Ground Beef Pasta Bake
- Homemade Lasagna
- Creamy Pesto Pasta Salad
- Buffalo Chicken Pasta
- Meatball Pasta Bake
- Chicken Spaghetti
- Slow Cooker Tortellini Pasta Bake
- Easy Crockpot Lasagna with Ravioli
- The Best Marinara Sauce
- More Pasta Recipes
- More Main Dish Recipes
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This Sausage and Pepper Pasta recipe is an easy, hearty, and delicious pasta bake. It's full of pasta, sausage, peppers, onion, and cheese in a creamy tomato sauce that's baked until golden brown.