One-Bowl Meals: Sausages with Red Sauce and Peas

This was one of my wife’s go-to meals when she was cooking for herself in law school. Now it’s one of mine.


  • 3 sausages (basil pesto preferred)
  • 1 small-medium onion, chopped
  • 3/4 cup penne pasta
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat penne pasta
  • heaping 1 cup frozen petite peas
  • 1/3 cup marinara sauce
  • Italian seasoning and crushed red pepper, to taste

Step 1. Fill medium pot half full with water and bring to boil. While water is heating, add drizzle of olive oil to large saute pan and heat onions. (Note: My frozen onion trick works perfectly with this quick dish.)

Step 2. While water is heating and onions are cooking, chop sausages. Slice lengthwise, then chop into 1/2-centimeter thick half-moons. Water is likely boiling now. Add the two types of penne. I like using a combination of regular and whole wheat pasta. It makes the dish a little more nutritious, without completely losing the preferred texture of the traditional pasta.

Step 3. Add sausages to onions. Cook, over medium heat, until water from onions and sausages has evaporated and onions and sausages have browned some.

Step 4. When pasta is done, turn off heat. Add frozen peas to pasta water. Let sit for 1 minute or so. This will lightly blanch the peas. After peas start to rise to the surface, dump water and return peas and penne to the pot.

Step 5. Add to the pasta pot the onions and sausages. Then add the marinara sauce. It might not seem like enough marinara sauce, but trust me, it is. You don’t want the dish to be swimming in sauce; just enough so it lightly coats everything. Sprinkle with Italian seasoning (about 1 teaspoon) and red pepper flakes (a couple healthy pinches). The mellow heat from the red pepper flakes is the key to this dish.

Step 6. Return to heat and warm thoroughly, but don’t cook for too long. The peas should remain bright green. Top with parmesan cheese and serve.

Serves 2.

  • Bri

    Love this. I make very similar version, but instead of peas I use frozen broccoli and instead of red sauce I add sun dried tomatoes and use that deliciously flavored olive oil the tomatoes are stored in to cook the onions, sausage and tomatoes. I used to make it for the house when I lived Emily’s little brother. Hi Emily!

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