Spicy Sausage Pasta Skillet


Spicy Sausage Pasta Skillet is a quick, weeknight skillet supper that’s full of bold flavors.


It was a productive weekend ’round these parts!


True to our word, Ben and I got up early on Saturday morning then got to cleanin’! While he tackled the basement, I emptied the closets in both my office and our guest bedroom, then attacked the hall closet. I will admit to opening it every single time I passed by to admire my handiwork. Gosh, de-cluttering is just good for the soul!


By the way, I must share this genius little tip I saw on Pinterest awhile ago – place all the pieces in a sheet set inside one of the pillowcases to keep them all together. So clever! Place a dryer sheet inside to keep them smelling fresh (that’s my addition.)


We worked from 8am until nearly 3pm then decided to reward our hard work with dinner out at our favorite Mexican restaurant – say it with me, Monterrey! – later that night with a couple of our besties. After waiting for them at the table for 15 minutes I texted to see what was up, and tragically learned they had gone to the restaurant’s other location. Damn, I thought that only happened in the movies! They had to go pick up their kids from their parents house, so we called it a night and decided to try again next weekend!


With sore and tired muscles from cleaning and de-cluttering on Saturday, Ben and I slept in this morning, then hightailed it over to to Hy-Vee for Sunday brunch. (Yes, I wear this fleece literally every. single. day. Send help. Nay, new clothes.)


I chose the standard scrambled egg plate with hash browns and bacon,


while my bearded companion enjoyed a ham & cheese omelet.


With EXTRA crispy hash browns. Lucky duck.


One of my girlfriend’s was in from out of town so I visited with her and another friend for a bit this afternoon (LOVE me some girl time) then made an early dinner of Spicy Sausage Pasta Skillet! 

This is a stand-over-the-stove-shoveling-scorching-hot-food-into-your-mouth kind of meal. That is to say, it’s good. REAL good.

Spicy Sausage Pasta Skillet is a hearty main dish made in just 1 skillet! | iowagirleats.com

Smoked turkey sausage, shallots and garlic are sauteed then simmered with rotel, half & half, chicken broth and pasta until al dente. A sprinkling of salty parmesan cheese finishes off this easy, 1-skillet supper. (PS do you say supper or dinner? I say both, though I think supper is a mostly Midwest thing…)

Spicy Sausage Pasta Skillet is a hearty main dish made in just 1 skillet! | iowagirleats.com

Anywho! Start with 12oz smoked turkey sausage. This stuff is pre-cooked and ready to go. SUPER yummy too!

Spicy Sausage Pasta Skillet is a hearty main dish made in just 1 skillet! | iowagirleats.com

Slice the sausage into rings then add it to the biggest skillet you own (I used a 12″ skillet) with 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil, and 2 chopped shallots, or 1 chopped small onion. Saute for 4-5 minutes, or until the sausage barely starts to curl. If you saute it too long, it’ll get rubbery. Next add 2 minced garlic cloves then saute for 30 more seconds.

Spicy Sausage Pasta Skillet is a hearty main dish made in just 1 skillet! | iowagirleats.com

Next add in 2 cups chicken broth, 10oz Rotel (name brand for diced tomatoes with green chili) and 1/2 cup half & half. The mild Rotel had the perfect amount of spice for me, but Ben added a few red chili pepper flakes to his bowl for an extra kick.

Spicy Sausage Pasta Skillet is a hearty main dish made in just 1 skillet! | iowagirleats.com

Bring the mixture to a boil then stir in 8oz cut gluten-free or regular pasta. I used rotini, but you could use shells, penne, rigatoni – just use whatever you’ve got.

Spicy Sausage Pasta Skillet is a hearty main dish made in just 1 skillet! | iowagirleats.com

Place a lid on top then simmer until the pasta is barely al dente, about 10 minutes. I gave mine a stir once or twice too.

Spicy Sausage Pasta Skillet is a hearty main dish made in just 1 skillet! | iowagirleats.com

Finally, add 4 cups baby spinach then use a pair of tongs to fold in and cook for 1 more minute – just enough time for the spinach to wilt.

Spicy Sausage Pasta Skillet is a hearty main dish made in just 1 skillet! | iowagirleats.com

Scoop the pasta into bowls then top with a hearty sprinkling of parmesan cheese!

Spicy Sausage Pasta Skillet is a hearty main dish made in just 1 skillet! | iowagirleats.com

Spicy Sausage Pasta Skillet

Serves 6


Spicy Sausage Pasta Skillet is a quick, weeknight skillet supper that's full of bold flavors.


  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 12oz smoked turkey sausage, sliced
  • 2 large shallots or 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 10oz Rotel
  • 1/2 cup half & half
  • pepper
  • 8oz cut pasta (I used rotini)
  • 4 cups baby spinach
  • Parmesan cheese, for topping


  1. Heat oil in a large skillet (I used a 12" skillet) over medium-high heat. Add sausage and shallots then saute until sausage is slightly curled, about 5 minutes (do not over cook or sausage will become rubbery.) Add garlic then cook for 30 more seconds, stirring constantly.
  2. Turn heat up to high then add chicken broth, tomatoes, half & half, and pepper. Mixure may look curdled, but it's fine. Bring to a boil then add pasta and stir to combine. Place a lid on top then simmer for 10 minutes, or until pasta is al dente, stirring once or twice. Add spinach then stir to combine and cook until wilted, about 1 minute. Serve topped with parmesan cheese.


Adapted from America's Test Kitchen, via Kevin & Amanda

This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.

Spicy Sausage Pasta Skillet is a hearty main dish made in just 1 skillet! | iowagirleats.com

This pasta was absolutely mouthwatering! Creamy, salty, spicy, satisfying, mm-mm good. There. I said it.

Spicy Sausage Pasta Skillet is a hearty main dish made in just 1 skillet! | iowagirleats.com

Plus, hello, bonus points for only needing 1 skillet – whee!

Spicy Sausage Pasta Skillet is a hearty main dish made in just 1 skillet! | iowagirleats.com

Hope you had a fantastic weekend, friends! Have a great week, too!

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  1. Sara 03.03.2013

    Yummy! And except for spinach, we always have these ingredients on hand. I meal plan for the month-so March is out- but we’ll be trying this in April!

    I think that technically dinner is the biggest meal of your day, whether eaten at midday or in the evening. But if you have your big meal around noontime, then you have had your dinner at noon, and you’ll probably have a supper in the evening.

  2. Becky 03.03.2013

    Love any idea with spinach lately – thanks! Definitely dinner because supper does sound so country! Every time I read your stuff I am thinking – oh my gosh but that could be me – however – you TOTALLY lost me at Monterey. Try Mi Mexico or El Aguila Real . . . please.

    • Iowa Girl Eats 03.03.2013

      I’ve been to both, but just keep going back to Monterrey! I think everyone has their favorite. :)

  3. Dara @how_to_eat 03.03.2013

    I love that you only need one skillet – it is absolutely genius! I’ve never cooked pasta like this before so I can’t wait to try it! My husband would absolutely love this too…especially because he is normally on clean up duty!

  4. Jill Jones 03.03.2013

    Love your blog and all of the wonderful original recipes and the Friday post!
    Would whole milk work in today’s recipe in lieu of half and half? Thanks, Jill

  5. Jodie 03.03.2013

    It must be a Midwest Man thing, because my husband has had full facial hair these days as well!!!! People at works too! My E finally shaved it tonight after 3 months. Although, we have seen Hulk Hogan, lamb chops, and Ditka tonight before all was gone.

  6. Heather 03.03.2013

    I love your blog! I have made many a dish from your blog! I must be channeling you lately … Hickory Park last week when traveling to Ames because I had read about your trip and the Saucy Southerner! Today ironically my fiancée and I did some spring cleaning and before you posted we too went to Hy-Vee Sunday brunch!

  7. Michelle Naomi 03.03.2013

    YUM! This looks delicious. I’m totally going to add it as one of 2 new recipes to the meal plan next week. And the only thing I’ll need to buy is the sausage..score!

    Love your blog and recipes :)

  8. I love that tip from Pinterest. Did you get your fleece from Target? If so, I have the same one that I wear to work everyday. Can’t beat cheap comfy clothes! :)

  9. Rose Ann 03.03.2013

    Already shopped for this week but I will be making this next week for sure! And I know I will love it. Made your Ditalini Soup for the umpteenth time this week!

    A home organizer gave me that tip years ago and have been doing it ever since! Love an organized closet :)

  10. Jeri Wendzel 03.03.2013

    I don’t blame you for wearing the same fleece. I say, whatever it takes to keep you warm. It’s getting very depressing here in Iowa. I find myself staying inside more just so I CAN wear the same warm thing over and over.

  11. As always your dinner looks great! Your closet looks amazing, I love when things are neat and organized, but im horrible at taking the time to do it

  12. laura 03.03.2013

    Am reading a great book, Born to Run by Christopher McDougall, and just got to a chapter where it talked about the benefits of the chia seed. It made me think of your yummy parfaits! :0)

  13. Yummy! This would be a perfect dish for the kiddo and me when my husband is away at the fire house. Oh and we say dinner by the way. The real question is do you call soft drinks soda, pop or Coke? My husband thinks its rediculous that in Texas we called everything coke. Do you want a coke? Okay what kind? It was really confusing during my waitressing days ;)

  14. Organization just makes my heart smile! ;) It is such a refreshing feeling to clean/organize.

    LOVE Hy-Vee breakfast. It is just way too dang good!

    That pasta dish sounds great. I would love to try it with a vegan sausage. Have you ever tried the Field Roast brand vegan sausage? It is amazing!!

  15. Bek @ Crave 03.03.2013

    Haha how unfortunate! Hopefully you still enjoyed the mexican food?

  16. Rhonda 03.03.2013

    Growing up an Eastern Iowa (almost farm) girl, we called it supper. But my MN raised husband says dinner

  17. […] most recent post that exhibits this type of writing is “Spicy Sausage Pasta Skillet” where she begins her recipe talking about her […]

  18. Jodea @ chillichocolatelove.com 03.04.2013

    Currently in a state of mild panic because my favourite black fleece is in the laundry pile…

  19. AC 03.04.2013

    We prefer El Rodeo… Monterrey was just too salty for us!

    I was raised saying both… dinner is the biggest meal of the day. Nobody says “a light dinner”… but, you can have a “light lunch” or a “light supper”… Makes sense to me! :-)

  20. Now you have me craving pasta and breakfast!

  21. haha, we say dinner for the most part (here in MN, supper is used to describe lunch a lot for some reason, at least my grandma uses it for that). i make a version of this pasta a lot, i call it my ‘pasta creation meal’ because it’s just whatever spices i feel like, along with whatever i have in the fridhe!

  22. Sara B. 03.04.2013

    Going to 2 different restaurants has happened to us too – and ours happened to be Mexican restaurants as well. We were meeting up with friends at El Rodeo – they all went to the location in Clive and my husband and I were sipping margaritas in Urbandale :)

    Also, I never thought twice about using the word supper, until a few years ago I was in Chicago and was made fun of for it! Haha. My other Iowa friend had to tell me they call it dinner out there :)

  23. Sally 03.04.2013

    This looks awesome – will definitely be making it for dinner this week! I’m on the East Coast, in VA near Washington, DC and we say “dinner”. However my grandmother, who was originally from Michigan, says “supper”, so I suppose it is a Midwest thing!

    Love that Pinterest trick by the way!

  24. Bree 03.04.2013

    Oh Em Gee that looks positively mouth-watering. Pasta is my kryptonite!! I can’t wait to make this!

  25. Tracy 03.04.2013

    I wanted you to know I made your homestyle chicken & noodles for my family last night. It was a huge hit!! Well done!

  26. Tasha @ Homemade 03.04.2013

    I have been making this dish for sometime now and I have to say .. the easiest most delicious ever. Perfect weekday meal, only one pot and sooooo delicious. I never had turkey polska or sausage till I made this dish and I have been hooked ever since. Yum! Love your twist of adding the spinach … will definitely add it next time!

  27. Brenda 03.04.2013

    I like this dish on several levels: one pot (major), spicy, creamy, turkey sausage, noodles, and spinach. I’m going to try this one!

    I used to call the evening meal supper, but I found if I always called it dinner, nobody ever commented or made fun of it, so dinner it is.

  28. Carrie 03.04.2013

    Hi Kristin!
    I made your fresh apple cake for breakfast for my coworkers on Saturday, and it was a huge hit. Gone in 30 min! I used whole wheat flour and half the sugar, and it was just as delicious. Thanks for such a great recipe. :-)

  29. Jamie 03.04.2013

    The Spicy Sausage Skillet turned out great with what I had in the pantry and fridge! Thanks for another yummy recipe. Substituted regular turkey smoked sausage plus a little red pepper, whole milk in place of half and half, and fire roasted tomatoes instead of rotel.

  30. annie 03.04.2013

    GOD BLESS YOU for wearing the same fleece everyday. I have the same thing. Black. Quarter zip. My best friend.

  31. Lauren 03.04.2013

    Made this tonight. Embarrassingly the 6 servings this recipe makes was eaten by just my husband and I – no left overs! Are we piggos? Nah, I think it’s just that good! Thanks for another great, fast, filling and tasty dish!

  32. Kristie Laas 03.04.2013

    I just wanted to say i made this dish tonight for dinner and i absolutely loved it… My kids , younger two thought it was a little spicy but still ate it and my oldest well we will see whem he gets home…hopefully he wont question the sausage with it being turkey. I know that i enjoyed every mouthful i put in my mouth.. I enjoy seeing the new recipes u share as well.

  33. Lindsay 03.05.2013

    Made this dish last night and OMG! It was wonderful! It was a perfect blend of spicy, creamy and healthy! I had a 10 oz. box of farfalle so dumped the whole thing in, and ended up having to add another 1/2 cup of chicken broth and cook for an extra 8 minutes. This didn’t affect the outcome at all though! It didn’t even need the Parmesan cheese. And I love that its a one pot meal, though I may cook it in a dutch oven next time. It was almost too big for my 12″ skillet.

  34. Samantha 03.05.2013

    Looks delicious! Thanks for sharing :)

    I’m from Northern Illinois & we say dinner, but we are also the only people I know who say pop instead of soda or “coke”. Haha!

  35. Londa 03.05.2013

    The only bad part about subscribing to your blog via email is that it’s so easy to read and I never click over to comment! Sorry! We LOVE all your great recipes! This one was especially amazing!!!! I substituted kale for the spinach and it worked great! Thanks!

    • Iowa Girl Eats 03.05.2013

      Thanks so much for the kind words, Londa! :)

    • Kerry 03.08.2013

      I did the same with the Kale and it was fantastic. My whole family LOVED this recipe!

  36. Amber 03.05.2013

    I made this last night and it was so delicious!! My boyfriend ate so much of it that there were no leftovers! Will definitely be making it again!! Thanks for sharing!!

  37. Devon Schmidt 03.05.2013

    Kristin, I had plans to make something else, and then I read this, so I dropped everything and made the sausage spinach parm skillet! So yummy! Thanks for inspiring another meal.

  38. Tom 03.07.2013

    What I like about your posts, well besides the great food ideas, is that your pans look used – not all clean and sparkly. It keeps it real.

    Great blog!

    Ohio Man Eats

    • Iowa Girl Eats 03.07.2013

      HAHA – I know, kind of embarrassing, but you’re right – just keeping it real, I suppose!

      • Tom 03.07.2013

        Not embarrassing at all. I’ve got some great Calophon pans that I paid a small fortune for that have served me well over the years, but they look used as they should.

        Copper pans hanging over the island are just eye candy and a total waste of money.

        Keep up the good work and, keep the pans :-)


  39. Florence 03.12.2013

    Hi Kristin,

    I went to 3 stores and couldn’t find Rotel. Would diced tomatoes with chili seasonings work?


    • Iowa Girl Eats 03.12.2013

      Crazy! I would just use 3/4 of a 12oz can of petite diced tomatoes, and about 2oz canned chopped green chilies to replicate the flavor!

  40. Amy 03.13.2013

    Just made this for dinner tonight and it got rave reviews! AND a request to add it to the regulars list! Thanks so much!!

  41. Crunchy Feminist 03.25.2013

    I just made this without the turkey sausage and it was oh-my-god fabulous. Thank you for such a fab recipe!

  42. Alyssa 04.03.2013

    I really like this recipe. However, when I made it, it turned out to be very soupy. I don’t know what happened.

  43. ellen 05.18.2013

    Made this last night and it was a hands down winner with my hubby. Will be in regular rotation over here! Thanks!

  44. Shields 05.19.2013

    Easy recipe. Great combination but it should be noted that the Rotel should be drained (unless I missed that).

  45. Rose Ann 06.02.2013

    This has been on my list to make for the last couple months. I finally made it tonight & it was delish!!! I have told you before but I love your blog & every Friday I keep checking for your favorites, they are fantastic!!! I often make your picture of the dog/animal my screen saver for the week too. But the hands down absolute thing I love most about your blog is your recipes & knowing that when I make it, it will be fantastic. I never have to worry if it’s the first time I make it & it’s for others because I know it will be good. I have yet to be let down. You rock Kristin, congratulations on your pregnancy & good luck with your new home & move!! I look forward to hearing about this new chapter in your lives! Keep the recipes coming….Mmmmmm

  46. […] from Iowa Girl Eats from Kevin & […]

  47. […] Source: Iowa Girl Eats […]

  48. […] Spicy Sausage Pasta Skillet […]

  49. […] Favorite Dinner : Spicy Sausage Pasta Skillet […]

  50. […] Recipe adapted from Iowa Girl Eats […]

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