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Quick homemade sausage ragù with rigatoni

Homemade Italian Sausage Ragù

  • Author: Emilie Raffa
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4
  • Category: Pasta Sauce
  • Method: Stove-Top
  • Cuisine: Italian


This homemade Italian sausage ragù is a quick, comfort food classic! Made with sweet Italian pork sausage and fresh herbs, you’ll love it with mezze rigatoni, fresh homemade pasta, or even polenta for a perfect pasta dinner!


For the Pasta

For the Sausage Ragù

  • 1 lb. sweet Italian pork sausage (see note)
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 Rosemary sprig
  • 1 tsp. fennel seeds
  • (1x) 28 oz. can of whole-peeled tomatoes, preferably San Marzano OR (1x) Authentic Pomodoro Sauce or (1x) Sicilian Tomato Sauce as the base sauce
  • 1 bunch of fresh basil
  • Fine sea salt
  • Black pepper
  • Parmesan cheese

Notes & Tips

  • If your Italian pork sausage contains fennel, omit the fennel seeds in the recipe
  • Tomato puree or passata can be used in lieu of canned tomatoes. The texture will be smoother.


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to the package instructions, reserving a mug of cooking water before draining. Save it to loosen the sauce, if needed. 
  2. In a large 12-inch skillet, warm the olive oil over medium-low heat.
  3. Add the sliced garlic, rosemary, and fennel seeds. Stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  4. Squeeze the sausage meat from its casing and add it to the pan.
  5. Gently brown the meat, using a wooden spoon to break it up as you go. Lower the heat if necessary so that the meat stays tender and does not become rubbery. It will finish cooking in the sauce.
  6. Add the tomatoes and bring the sauce to a gentle boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until the tomatoes have broken down, about 30-40 minutes. Be sure to add a splash of water to your empty can of tomatoes, swirl it around, and add it back to the sauce. 
  7. Remove the rosemary sprig and skim any oil from the top with a spoon.
  8. Sprinkle the sugar over the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Adjust taste to your liking.
  9. Stack about 10 basil leaves on top a of each other and roll them up. Thinly slice into ribbons and add to the sauce.
  10. Combine the pasta and sauce, adding some of the starchy cooking liquid if needed.
  11. Serve with parmesan cheese and extra basil leaves.

Keywords: pasta, rigatoni, sausage, sauce, ragù, Italian, easy, recipe, quick, homemade