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The Ultimate Easy Spicy Baked Sausage and Peppers Pasta

by | Dec 27, 2021 | Recipes

There’s nothing quite as satisfying as a tasty home-cooked meal after a long day at work, and this Spicy Baked Sausage and Peppers Pasta is perfect for such a day! Crumbles of Italian sausage and tender crisp chunks of green bell pepper are baked in a spicy, flavorful tomato sauce. After about a half hour in the oven, everything is topped with a generous amount of mozzarella that’s broiled until golden brown. Simple. Comforting. Perfection!

close up of sausage and peppers pasta in a serving bowl

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After a long hiatus from working a standard full-time job, I recently took on a remote (for now) position with a young tech start up. I quickly realized that I’d gotten quite used to the freedoms that come with freelancing. When I was freelancing, I had the autonomy and flexibility to cater to things like realizing you’ve run out of milk and simply hopping in the car to go grab groceries.

Going back to a “regular” full-time job also has had impacts on how I cook at home. With a fervent effort still in full-swing to avoid simply defaulting to delivery for dinner, I’ve started turning back to my old, trusted standbys–Crock-Pot meals and casserole dishes. That’s how this Spicy Baked Sausage and Peppers Pasta came about, actually. Bear with me for a small aside that plays a role in how this spicy pasta bake came to fruition…

JUMP TO:

INGREDIENTS    SWAPS    TIPS & TRICKS    HOW-TO    RECIPE

How This Tasty, Crazy Simple Baked Pasta Dish Came to Be (The Small Aside)

Throughout my 20s, I spent the majority of my working day seated at my desk. Little did I realize the future pain and havoc this would wreak upon my body just a decade later in life. Let me tell you, when you find out in your mid-30s that you’ve got back issues and your body is literally deteriorating, you suddenly realize the importance of prioritizing taking breaks often throughout your day at work.

Now, I use the Pomodoro method to ensure I don’t sit too long at a time. But because I still can’t fully get away from that “hard worker” mentality, I try to find ways to be a “busy bee” when I’m up and walking around to stretch my muscles and keep my back happy. In the vein of maximizing my time, I was trying to find a recipe that I could prep on a break or two during my day. Then, during another break, later in the day, I could pop it in the oven so it’d be ready for dinner when my other half gets home.

overhead shot of golden brown mozzarella

A Sausage and Peppers Recipe That’s Easy to Work Into Your Day

A casserole recipe like this one is perfect for those who work in an office and need a meal they can quickly whip up because there’s very minimal prep work. It’s also perfect for those who work from home like me and want to work the prep for this recipe into their day during breaks. And it takes just minutes to combine everything into the baking dish and put it in the oven to cook. Since this dish cooks for 35 minutes while covered, I extend my third to last Pomodoro session of the day a little and am ready for another break just as the baked pasta is ready to be topped with cheese.

Once I add the cheese, I put the dish back in the oven under the broiler for 5-10 minutes while on my break to get it golden brown. Then, I pull it out and let it rest while I go back to finish off my working day. By the time I’m done with work, my other half is home and we have a still piping hot pasta dish ready for us to dig into. How’s that for a winning finish to the work day!

overhead close up of sausage and peppers pasta garnished with freshly grated parmesan cheese

Gonna try out this recipe?

Leave a star rating or review in the comments to let me know what you think!

Ingredients For Spicy Baked Sausage and Peppers Pasta

overhead shot of ingredients needed to make spicy baked sausage and peppers pasta recipe
  • Italian Sausage – If you want this dish just a little spicy, I suggest using mild or sweet Italian sausage; if you’re into the spicy vibe, go with hot Italian sausage.
  • Green Bell Pepper – I like to use green bell peppers ’cause those are standard fare for sausage and peppers. But, feel free to mix it up with some red, orange, or yellow peppers if you like a little sweet with your spice.
  • Fra Diavolo Sauce – Fra Diavolo is a savory, spicy tomato sauce made with garlic and crushed red pepper; it’s what gives this dish a little kick.
  • Beef Broth – Instead of using 1 1/2-2 jars of pasta sauce, I opted to bump up the cooking liquid with beef broth. This does make the final result a little “soupy”, but we like it that way. If you’d prefer a less soupy pasta at the end, replace this broth with more Fra Diavolo sauce.
  • Dried Pasta – I recommend sticking with a small to medium pasta like elbows, rotini, or small shells for this dish. Rotini is what I used in the original version I made of this recipe; the cooking times in the recipe card listed below are for a small to medium pasta. I was running out of daylight and had to re-shoot the final dish, but only had cavatappi on hand. So, I found out that with a larger pasta like cavatappi, penne, or rigatoni, you’ll need to add an extra 3-5 minutes to the cooking time while the pasta is covered. Use whichever you like, just be sure to adjust the covered cooking time if needed for your chosen pasta.
  • Shredded Mozzarella Cheese – Typically, I will rave about the heightened quality of freshly grated over the store bought shredded mozzarella. But I found that in this dish, both worked well.

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pinterest pin for Spicy Baked Sausage and Peppers Pasta Recipe

Ingredient Swaps & Variations

  • Hot Italian Sausage – If you want a little more kick to this dish, opt for hot Italian sausage instead of the sweet variety.
  • Turkey or Chicken Sausage – Looking to use a meat that’s a little less fatty than pork? Opt for a turkey or chicken based sausage.
  • Can’t Find Fra Diavolo Sauce? – If you can’t find Fra Diavolo sauce, you can swap it out for Arrabbiata sauce.
  • Pump Up the Kick – If you like spicy, you could sprinkle in a generous pinch or two of crushed red pepper over the sausage and peppers before you add the pasta sauce and broth.
  • Sweeten the Deal – Do you like a little sweet with your spicy? If so, swap out half of the green bell pepper for a red, yellow, or orange bell pepper.
  • Add in Onions – A lot of folks make their sausage and peppers with onions by default. I leave them out since I have a non-onion eater in my house, but if you love ’em, then toss ’em in for more bulk and flavor in this baked pasta dish.

Recipe Tips & Tricks

What to Remember – Make sure that all of the dried pasta is covered by sauce and broth so that it will fully cook in the oven. It’s generally not needed, but you may want to stir the mixture before putting the pasta into the oven when covered to cook. And you may want to stir the pasta mixture again just before adding the shredded cheese.

close up of pasta submerged in pasta sauce and beef broth

What to Avoid – Keep a watchful eye on the dish after you’ve added the cheese and put it back into the oven to broil. Sometimes ovens have hot spots (as you can see in my photo, haha) and this can dramatically impact the timing and evenness of browning your cheese topping.

Recipes That Go Well with Spicy Baked Sausage and Peppers Pasta – Veggie side dishes that go great with this baked pasta are Kickin’ Crispy Roasted Broccoli With Lemon and Feta, Super Garlicky Green Beans, and Roasted Asparagus Parmesan.

Recipe Notes

Storage – Leftovers of this Spicy Baked Sausage and Peppers Pasta dish are best stored in an airtight plastic or glass container in the fridge. They’ll stay good for up to 7 days.

Reheating – This baked pasta dish reheats well both in the microwave or in the oven. If you opt for the oven, I’d recommend covering your pasta with aluminum foil and reheating at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or so.

Servings & Nutrition – One serving of this Spicy Baked Sausage and Peppers Pasta is about 1 cup. This recipe makes 8 servings. Each serving has approximately 440 calories, 34 g of carbohydrates, 23 g of protein, 23 g of fat, and 8 g of sugar. For the full recipe and additional nutritional information, please see the recipe card below.

How to Make Spicy Baked Sausage and Peppers Pasta

Step 1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Spread a little of your pasta sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish. Then, break your raw sausage up into small to medium sized crumbles. Spread the sausage over the bottom of the dish.

Step 2. Add the chunks of green bell pepper into the dish, spreading them over the sausage.

overhead shots of steps 1 through 4 of how to make baked sausage and peppers pasta recipe

Step 3. Sprinkle in your dried pasta of choice.

Step 4. Pour in the Fra Diavolo sauce and the beef broth and ensure the pasta is all covered by the sauce and broth. Cover your baking dish with a lid or aluminum foil and bake for 35 minutes.

Step 5. Take the pasta out of the oven and turn your oven broiler onto high. Then, remove the lid or aluminum foil from your baking dish. Top the pasta with the shredded mozzarella and then return the pasta to the oven. You’re looking to get a nice golden brown on the mozzarella, so it could take anywhere from 5-10 minutes depending on your individual oven.

overhead shots of steps 5 and 6 of how to make baked sausage and peppers pasta recipe

Step 6. Once golden brown on top, remove your Spicy Baked Sausage and Peppers Pasta from the oven and let set for 10-15 minutes before serving. As the pasta cools, the sauce mixture with thicken up some. Tent with foil, if desired, to retain heat until ready to serve.

spicy baked sausage and peppers pasta garnished with freshly grated parmesan cheese overhead shot

If you make this recipe, tag me in your photos on Instagram—I love seeing what you guys decided to make!

Frequently Asked Questions About Spicy Baked Sausage and Peppers Pasta

If I have leftovers of this baked sausage and peppers pasta, can I freeze it for later?

You certainly can freeze leftovers of this pasta dish, but with one caveat. When made fresh, the peppers in this dish are tender crisp. If you freeze the leftovers and then reheat later, the texture of the peppers will change significantly and they will be a bit mushy.

I’ve always seen sausage and peppers served with onions as part of the mix. Can I add in onion and how much should I use?

If you like onions with your sausage and peppers, then certainly add them. The amount of extra moisture that they will add to the dish is pretty negligible, so no worries there. For proportions, I’d say dice 1 small onion into 1-inch chunks and add that into the dish if desired.

I like sausage and peppers and want to try this dish, but my body can’t handle spicy things very well. Any suggestions on alterations?

Sure! Skip the spiciness entirely if your body doesn’t do well with spicy stuff. Just swap out the Fra Diavolo for a jar of your favorite kind of pasta sauce. When we don’t want a spicy version, we like to use the Olive Oil and Garlic or Tomato Basil kinds.

Other Recipes You May Enjoy

close up of sausage and peppers pasta in a serving bowl

Ultimate Easy Spicy Baked Sausage and Peppers Pasta

Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

This simple 6-ingredient baked pasta filled with Italian sausage, bell peppers, and spicy tomato sauce is a home run hit!

Ingredients

  • 16 oz Italian sausage (sweet, mild, or hot)
  • 1 24 oz jar of Fra Diavolo pasta sauce
  • 1 large green bell pepper, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 3/4 cup beef broth
  • 2 1/2 cup dry rotini pasta
  • 2 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Add a few spoonfuls of sauce to the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish and spread around. Then, break raw sausage into small to medium sized crumbles and spread across the bottom of the dish.

2. Spread the chunks of bell pepper over the sausage.

3. Sprinkle in the dried pasta.

4. Pour in the Fra Diavolo sauce and the beef broth and make that all the pasta is covered in the sauce and broth.

5. Cover baking dish with lid or aluminum foil and bake for 35 minutes.

6. Remove pasta from oven and turn oven broiler on high. Take the lid or aluminum foil off of the baking dish. Stir pasta mixture if desired. Then, sprinkle the shredded mozzarella cheese all over the top of pasta.

7. Return to oven uncovered and broil for 5-10 minutes, or until cheese is golden brown.

8. Remove baking dish from oven and let pasta set for 10-15 minutes before serving. (Tent with foil to retain as much heat as possible, if desired).

Notes

Recipe is written for use of small pasta shapes like rotini, elbows, mini penne, or mini farfalle. If you'd prefer to use a larger pasta like cavatappi, penne, farfalle, rigatoni, or ziti, add another 5 minutes to the cooking time while the pasta is covered.

If you can't find Fra Diavolo near you, substitute with Arrabbiata sauce. If you're unable to find that too, then substitute with your favorite jarred sauce and a generous pinch or two of crushed red pepper for some spice.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 440Total Fat: 23gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 52mgSodium: 1234mgCarbohydrates: 34gFiber: 3gSugar: 8gProtein: 23g

This nutrition data is provided and calculated by Nutritionix. Please keep in mind that your specific nutritional values may vary based on the brand of ingredients you use to make this recipe.

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Hey there! I’m Krystal, the sassy-mouthed, self-taught, home cook behind the content here at Sweet, Savory & Sassy. I have a deep love for sharing food with people and showing folks just how easy it really is to make dishes that will bring a little extra joy to those you love. There’s nothing like making something special for friends and family and seeing their face light up in delight during that first bite!
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