One-Pan Orecchiette With Sausage Recipe

Hey, are you interested in a dish that will satisfy and impress your dinner guests (or kids and spouse), yet takes all of five minutes to prep and requires only about 20 minutes of largely hands-off cooking time? Yeah, you are. And you found just that with this recipe for one-pan orecchiette with sausage. It sounds fancy, it tastes great, and it's super easy. "Orecchiette means 'little ears' because that is what the [pasta] shape looks like," says chef, recipe developer, and registered dietician Kristen Carli. And beyond being a charming style of pasta in looks, she adds: "They are great for scooping up the sauce in each bite." 

More sauce means more flavor, and that's a good thing. To round out this filling dish into a complete meal, Carli says: "This dish is served best with a side salad or roasted veggies. It would also be delicious with a homemade roll to dip into the remaining creamy sauce." One of the best things about this one-pan orecchiette with sausage, though, isn't the meal you serve tonight. Whether served cold or reheated, the leftovers are simply divine. Carli share that her husband was "so excited to be eating these leftovers," and the same will be true for you. Go ahead and make a double batch for dinner, and you'll please the family tonight and yourself at lunchtime tomorrow.

Gather the ingredients

Carli wants to be clear here: "This is not particularly a healthy dish, but it is a delicious one." You'll figure that out pretty fast when you see the ingredients, which include lots of heavy cream and cheese. So maybe not a dish you'll have every night, but once a week? Oh, indeed. 

All told, the recipe calls for olive oil, diced yellow onion, ground Italian sausage, orecchiette pasta, chicken broth, canned crushed tomatoes, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, and the heavy cream and shredded mozzarella cheese we mentioned.

"You can easily keep this dish vegetarian by omitting the sausage and stirring in a drained can of chickpeas at the end," Carli says. Just make sure to use veggie broth, too.

Cook the onion and sausage

Start off by putting a large pot (or a Dutch oven) on the stovetop over medium heat. Then add the olive oil, letting it warm for a moment, and then add the diced yellow onion. Sauté the onion until it turns translucent and has grown fragrant, which will take about 5 minutes.

Now add the ground Italian sausage to the pot, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula (so you don't scrape your cookware with a metal utensil — you can use any tool you'd like, of course). Cook the sausage until it is no longer pink in any spots.

Add the pasta, tomatoes, broth, and seasoning

Once the sausage meat is all uniformly browned, add the pasta, chicken broth, canned tomatoes (along with their juices), the Italian seasoning, and salt and pepper. Stir everything to combine well, and bring the pot to a boil. 

Cook everything at a low boil (above a simmer, but watch for boil overs) for about 10 minutes, or until the pasta is cooked to an al dente feel. Make sure to stir occasionally during this step so that the pasta does not stick to the bottom of the pot and the spices fully integrate.

Stir in the cream and cheese and serve

As soon as the pasta is cooked to your liking, remove the pot from the heat. Now add the heavy cream and stir it in, and then add 3/4 of a cup of mozzarella cheese. Stir to combine that as well.

And now you can serve out portions of this one-pan orecchiette with sausage with generous sprinkles of the remaining shredded mozzarella cheese on top of each dish. Also, go ahead and toss on some red pepper flakes for anyone who likes spice. 

As for those delightful leftovers, Carli says: "This is best stored in the fridge in a nonstick container for up to four days."

One-Pan Orecchiette With Sausage Recipe
5 from 45 ratings
When you're in the mood for total comfort food, this one-pan dish delivers -- yummy pasta in a creamy, cheesy, tomato-based sauce is perfect for a Sunday night.
Prep Time
Cook Time
a serving of orecchiette with sausage in a bowl
Total time: 25 minutes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ yellow onion, diced
  • 1 pound ground Italian sausage
  • 1 pound orecchiette pasta
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
  1. In a large pot, over medium heat, add the olive oil and onion and sauté until the onion is translucent.
  2. Add the sausage, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, and cook it until it is no longer pink.
  3. Add the pasta, broth, crushed tomatoes, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper, and bring the pot to a boil.
  4. Cook for about 10 minutes at a low boil until the pasta is al dente, making sure to stir the pot occasionally so the pasta does not stick to the bottom.
  5. Remove the pot from heat and add the heavy cream and ¾ cup mozzarella cheese, stirring to combine.
  6. Serve with the remaining mozzarella cheese sprinkled on top of each person's dish.
Calories per Serving 942
Total Fat 54.7 g
Saturated Fat 25.5 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 155.1 mg
Total Carbohydrates 75.6 g
Dietary Fiber 5.2 g
Total Sugars 12.4 g
Sodium 1,355.2 mg
Protein 37.2 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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