Penne Pasta with Sausage and Arugula

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Penne w Sausage & Arugula

Buon giorno!

In for a “penne” in for a pound! However, you do it – count me in! Penne pasta has that universal chunky shape that seems to go just perfectly with almost any sauce. For me, PENNE PASTA WITH SAUSAGE AND ARUGULA  hits all the right notes for a quick and satisfying pasta dish that isn’t too heavy. There is no long cooking sauce to make with this.

Talk about fresh and easy! You can’t beat this one – with just a few ingredients and very little prep.

For those who might not want the sausage – they can just leave it out and still come out with a great dish. For my taste though, the combo of the sausage with the arugula, cherry tomatoes, etc. knocks the dish out of the park.  The addition of sun dried tomatoes offers a little sweetness and acid to the added “heat” of the red pepper flakes and the oil  – lots of balance here.

I like using fresh Thyme leaves in this dish. If you have Thyme or Lemon Thyme planted in your garden, you know what a treasure it can be, in that it adds so much to your recipes. If you don’t have it – start planting. Thyme is a beautiful, easy, and useful herb to grow. It also does very well in pots!


In Italian cooking, you’ll find the pairing of sausage with leafy greens again and again varying the different types of the greens like arugula, kale, and very often broccoli raab, or rapini. The Southern Italians use this combination in so many of their dishes. I happen to like the arugula for its peppery flavor and lack of bitterness which is so prominent in the broccoli raab.

To top it all off – it’s just a beautiful visual! Troppo bella!


Serves: 4

Prep: about 10 minutes

Cook:  10 minutes


1 lb. Penne Pasta, Ziti, or Mostaccioli– cooked according to package directions

4 Tbsp. Olive Oil

3 Links Italian Sausage – I like a mixture of hot and sweet (mild) – sliced or out of the casings broken into bits

2 Cloves Fresh Garlic – chopped

1/4 Tsp. Red Pepper Flakes

1 1/4 C. Yellow or Red Cherry Tomatoes – sliced in half

1/3 C. Sundried Tomatoes – packed in oil and chopped

6 C. Arugula (Sounds like a lot – but it shrinks!)

2 Tsp. Fresh Thyme leaves

Extra Virgin Olive Oil for drizzle

Grated Pecorino Cheese to serve


Cook your pasta as your package directs.

While the pasta boils, cook your sausage, garlic, hot red pepper flakes, in the oil in a pan until the sausage is done.

Add the sundried tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, arugula, and Thyme.

Toss and cook until the arugula wilts – about 5 minutes.

Penne with sausage and arugula

Add the cooked pasta to the pan and mix well.

Drizzle with a good Extra Virgin Olive Oil and serve with grated Pecorino.

I like to serve my PENNE PASTA WITH SAUSAGE AND ARUGULA with a bold vino rosso. Cantele Salice Salentino Riserva from the Puglia region is about as perfect a match as you can get with this, I think. It is affordable, has beautiful flavor, and offers just enough body to stand up to the sausage. Salute!


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Food Photos By Tommy Hanks Photography

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  1. Marti Faytko says:

    Linda, I made this yesterday, and we just had leftovers tonight. It explodes with flavor. Andy & I love this. He suggested that I make it again. I even used fresh thyme for the first time! I bought thyme at the local nursery and will plant it tomorrow, along with basil. This is so much fun! Until now, the thing I made best was reservations. But now I’m cooking real food that bursts with flavor. Thanks for your great recipes. I’m enjoying cookiing for the first time.

    • Marti! There is nothing more thrilling for me than a comment like this. Keep on cooking!! “Real” food with the freshest of ingredients is the key to good cooking and happy healthy dining.