Tuscan Sausage and Peppers combines simple, fresh ingredients into this delicious, quick Italian spicy sausage pasta dish prepared on the stove-top.
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This is a super easy pasta recipe that combines Italian sausage, red and green bell peppers, garlic and kale to make a quick, yummy and satisfying dinner.
It's easy enough to put together on a weeknight, too - and have delicious leftovers. This Italian sausage and peppers recipe is very easy to increase or decrease the quantity, too, so it adapts well to small households and large families.
When I made the recipe that I photographed here, I used spicy Italian sausage pasta, but you can easily use a mild sausage.
While it doesn't have a sauce, this recipe doesn't really need it. It's got plenty of sausage and garlic to flavor the pasta, peppers and kale. You can, however, reserve some pasta water to mix with the pan drippings to make a light sauce.
The kale provides a nice balance to the sweetness of the peppers and the spicy sausage.
I like to top this sausage and peppers recipe pasta with a little shaved parmesan for a hint of that king-of-cheeses flavor.
This Tuscan Sausage and Peppers recipe was in my mom's recipe collection.
What is Tuscan cooking?
Tuscan cooking goes back to the Etruscan era, and is defined by simple, fresh and inexpensive ingredients that can be prepared in large amounts. The Etruscans occupied that area of Italy now known as Tuscany from around 900 BC to 27 BC. You can see the origin of the word Tuscany in the word Etruscan.
The premise was to use everything and waste nothing. The term for it is cucina povera, or "poor cooking," and it originated out of necessity. Hence the simple ingredients.
Today Tuscan fare remains a staple for the home cook and families, but you can just as easily find it in upscale restaurants - with an expensive price tag.
- Italian sausage (links or bulk) - either milk or spicy. I prefer the spicy kind in this sausage pasta dish, the heat adds additional flavor and works well with all the fresh ingredients.
- Red and green bell pepper - the sweetness of the peppers provides a nice contrast to the slight bitterness of the kale.
- Kale - adds a slightly bitter flavor to round out the other ingredients, and holds up well to cooking.
- Garlic - gives the dish added flavor and depth.
- Salt and pepper - for seasoning
- Pasta - I use farfalle (bowtie) pasta for its size, it picks up well on a fork or spoon and still have room for more of the sausage and vegetables.
- Olive oil - for sautéing the garlic, peppers, and kale.
- Shaved parmesan cheese - for garnish (optional)
In a large pot, brown and crumble the Italian sausage.
Add the salt, pepper, garlic and peppers and sauté.
Cook the kale in batches, covered with a lid.
Add the pasta and mix to combine the ingredients thoroughly.
Transfer to a serving platter and garnish with shaved parmesan cheese, if desired.
- Prep all the ingredients first so they're ready to go into the pan. Slice the peppers to no more than ¼ inch wide.
- Reserve some of the drained pasta water to use in the saucepan to create steam to help the kale cook faster. You can also use it to make a light sauce from the pan drippings, if you like).
Variations and Substitutions
- In place of kale, try Tuscan Sausage and Peppers with escarole. It has a more bitter taste than kale and provides an even stronger contrast with the sweetness of the peppers.
- Instead of Italian pork sausage, you could try Italian turkey sausage. If you can't find it bulk or fresh links, try this recipe from YepRecipes to make homemade from ground turkey. Because of the lower fat content, you will need additional olive oil to sauté the peppers.
- If you're longing for even spicier flavor, add some crushed red pepper to the saucepan while you're browning the sausage.
More Recipes for Italian Dishes
If you like this spicy sausage pasta recipe, you might also like these recipes, too.
Tuscan Sausage and Peppers
- 8 ounces farfalle (bowtie) pasta or your own pasta preference
- 1 pound Italian pork sausage mild or spicy, your preference
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
- 1 red bell pepper cored, seeded and sliced to no more than ¼ inch
- 1 green bell pepper cored, seeded and sliced to no more than ¼ inch
- 6 kale leaves stacked and cut cross-ways into 2-inch strips.
- Heat a large pot of water to cook the pasta, and cook according to the instructions on the package. When it's cooked, drain it and retain about two cups of the drained water.
- While the pasta cooks in the water, in a large saucepan, brown and crumble the sausage until no longer pink. If link sausage is in casings, remove the casings first (I just pinch it in the middle and squeeze the sausage out).
- Remove excess fat from the pan, leaving about two tablespoons in the pan.
- Add the salt, pepper and garlic to the pan and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Add the olive oil and bell peppers. Sauté for five minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add a small amount of the pasta water to the pan, then add as much kale as will fit comfortably in the pan so that you can still stir it. Give the kale a good stir, then cover the pan with a lid.
- Continue adding kale and pasta water until all the kale is in the pan. Once the kale is wilted, add additional pasta water to create a light sauce, if desired. Stir thoroughly, then continue cooking with the lid on for about 3 minutes.
- Transfer the Tuscan Sausage and Pasta to a serving dish and garnish with shaved parmesan, if desired. Serve.