Remember the dish I told you about a while ago? A pasta skillet supper graced with sun-dried tomatoes, broccoli, and parmesan cheese? I can easily say it is one of my favorite dinners of all time. And this dish I’m about to share with you…well, you can think of it as the first pasta dinner’s cousin. Delicious, but a bit different. Mildly spicy sausage, toasted pine nuts, sun-dried tomatoes (again) and hearty spinach make up the flavors of this dish that is packed with pasta (and flavor). I’ve said it before, but I just love meals that are made exclusively in one pot or skillet and this was no exception. My family ate this up (pasta always has that effect on my kids) and it was a snap to prepare.

What To ServeSteamed vegetable or this Perfect Roasted Asparagus
Simple green salad or this Marinated Caprese Salad 
Sliced Cheese

Sausage and Spinach Penne Skillet Supper

Sausage and Spinach Penne Skillet Supper

Note: The original recipe only used 8 ounces of pasta. I knew that wouldn’t be enough for our family so I adapted the recipe to make a bit more. It makes for a very full skillet, but if you have a 12-inch skillet, it will still be big enough. This serves 6 easily. If you don’t want to make as much, scale down the amounts in the recipe (use 8 ounces pasta and 5 1/2 cups liquid total).


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound Italian-style turkey sausage, casings removed (I couldn’t find turkey sausage so I substituted mild pork sausage)
  • 3 medium garlic cloves, minced finely
  • 3 1/2 cups water
  • 2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, rinsed and chopped fine
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 12 ounces (about 3 1/2 cups) penne pasta
  • 1 (6-ounce) bag baby spinach
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts


  1. Heat the oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot and add in the sausage. Cook until lightly browned and no longer pink about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  2. Stir in the water, broth, sun-dried tomatoes, and 1/2 teaspoon salt, then add in the pasta. Increase the heat to medium-high and cook at a strong simmer, stirring often, until the pasta is tender and the liquid has thickened, about 15-18 minutes (if you find the liquid is absorbing too quickly and the pasta is still undercooked, add a bit more water in small amounts until the pasta is cooked thoroughly).
  3. Stir in the spinach, a handful at at ime, and cook until wilted. Off the heat, stir in the cheese and pine nuts. Season with salt and pepper to taste adn serve immediately.

Recipe Source: adapted from The Best Skillet Recipes

31 Responses to Sausage and Spinach Penne Skillet Supper

  1. Amanda Z says:

    This was so delicious, I was concerned the gluten free pasta cooking in the water and broth would make the sauce too thick and gross, but my worries were unfounded. I love sun dried tomatoes, and they added such a great flavor to this dish. I have a binder of all my favorite recipes which is slowly becoming a mel’s kitchen cafe cook book, because I pretty much come straight to your blog for new dinners and always love them! thanks so much for sharing 🙂

  2. Melissa says:

    My family loves this meal! It’s one of our favorites from your website! I took it to a luncheon and everyone loved it there too and asked for the recipe.

  3. Carey Brunk says:

    I made this for dinner tonight. I had some mild Italian pork sausage I wanted to use up, so I replaced the turkey sausage with the pork. I also omitted the pine nuts and substituted mostaccioli for penne. (I made these changes because I didn’t have the specified ingredients.) Despite the changes, it was still amazing and so simple! Rave, rave, rave reviews from my husband and son. Will definitely add this to our favorites!

  4. Mel says:

    Stephanie – I wouldn’t recommend doing it. The recipe works beautifully as written and I haven’t ever subbed in leftover pasta (which can be kind of gummy and mushy).

  5. Stephanie says:

    I am wondering how you might go about using leftover pasta in this dish instead od dry noodles. If it is possible, would I just reduce the liquid by half or something?

  6. travis says:

    i made this sausage/spinach pasta dish last night. another hit!! the recipes you share seem too easy be so good. your blog has changed the way we cook and eat. we appreciate the time you put into it! (you mentioned yesterday that you are now in Northern Minny- my wife is from there and we were just up on the north shore of Lake Superior to ski at Lutsen. did you relocate anywhere near there? just curious. Thanks again!)

  7. Mel says:

    Hi Deb – you might lose a tad bit of flavor that the sausage adds to the pasta but otherwise, I think you could easily add it in at another step (as long as it is cooked through before the dish is done).

  8. Deb in Dayton says:

    This was really good! I liked the way the water turned into a sauce as it evaporated. I think next time I would add the sausage after the pasta is done. I found the sausage to be a little “boiled”. Do you think that this would make a difference in the taste? Otherwise, I would definately try this again!!

  9. Sonya says:

    Made this again tonight…still great. This makes it’s way on our menu every few months and we all say the same thing…”We need to make this more often!” Thanks again Melanie!

  10. steph says:

    Thanks for yet another great recipe! We had this for dinner tonight and it was a hit, even with my super-picky 6 year old. And it was ridiculously quick and easy. I’m curious how well it freezes. I think I’ll experiment with our leftovers..

  11. Mireya says:

    Just made this meal for dinner! Delicious! I love your site!

  12. Kelley says:

    I made it this evening. It was a big hit! Thanks for the recipe, I’ll be making it again.

  13. TraciW says:

    Eating it now and it is super good! Kids are gobbling it up.

  14. Mel says:

    Tori – thank you for your comment! I’m so glad you found your way to my blog and I’m really thrilled that this skillet supper was such a success. Thanks for letting me know!

  15. Tori says:

    I discovered your blog a few weeks ago, but last night I decided I’d finally try one of your recipes! This skillet dish was DELICIOUS! My husband and I absolutely loved it – and it was beyond easy to make! I used probably double the garlic and since I couldn’t remember which type of sausage to buy at the grocery store I used 1/2 pound hot & spicy and 1/2 pound mild & sweet – which actually worked out great! I will definitely make this again! Thanks for the great recipe!

  16. Sonya says:

    I made this this weekend with the hopes that I could keep it in the fridge and reheat it quickly during the week for dinner (I’m tired of eating out on ballet night). Well we had company over at the house and it was devoured. Good thing it quick to make. Thanks for a great meal.

  17. Melanie says:

    Hi Sonya – I’ve been enjoying all your comments on various posts. I’m glad that this dish was a hit with company…although that’s a bummer you didn’t get the leftovers you were hoping for!

  18. Melanie says:

    Anonymous – thanks for checking in to let me know that you liked this!

  19. Anonymous says:

    This was wonderful! Even better the next day as leftovers. MMMMMM

  20. Queen B. says:

    Oh, looks good ! By the way, I finally made your Baked Oatmeal and it was a HIT with everyone including the hubs. We even snacked on it after dinner !! I just wish I had a working camera so I could take pics 🙁
    Way to go My Kitchen Cafe !!

  21. Colleen says:

    These are all my husband’s favorite flavors in pasta – I will need to make this very soon!

  22. grace says:

    this is the quintessential pasta dish, melanie. i love everything about it, particularly that sausage. sausage isn’t combined with pasta often enough.

  23. Ashlie says:

    Oh, delicious! I love it. Well, I am guessing I’ll love it once I try it. I have to actually cook it first:) But dang! It looks good.

  24. My Sister's Kitchen says:

    I have this on my blog too an agree it’s a winner. With all the bike riding I’ve been doing I think I’ve been living on pasta dishes like these.

  25. Kevin says:

    That is my kind of quick and tasty work night pasta!

  26. cindy says:

    Looks yummy–I think I better purchase that skillet cookbook! My daughter made a skillet recipe you posted with chicken, pistachios, rice and coconut milk, it was so good I have been dreaming about it! Thanks for great recipes!

  27. Amy and David Ziehl says:

    This looks so delicious Mel! I cant wait to try it!

  28. Libby says:

    That looks delicious! I love pasta dishes 🙂

  29. Erin says:

    This looks absolutely fantastic!

  30. Anonymous says:

    Very tasty and pretty too! Thanks for sharing.

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