Saturday, January 2, 2021

25-Minute Skillet Dinner w/ Sausage and Pasta

This skillet dinner is the ultimate comfort food, combining gooey cheese with sausage and pasta. Make this easy recipe in only 25 minutes!

titled image: One Pan Baked Ziti shows the skillet dinner in cast iron pan

Skillet meals are a new favorite of mine.  I love taking a complicated dinner and turning it into an easy 30 minute meal.

Mexican Rice Casserole is a one pan meal with ground beef and big Tex-Mex flavor. It comes together in a snap, too.

When you're craving cheesy goodness with easy cleanup, turn to my skillet version of baked mac and cheese! Or, for a light seafood dinner in 20 minutes, you need to make lemon garlic shrimp. It's so good!

This super quick sausage and pasta dinner is inspired by my mom and her love of simple dinners and special occasions. Although, it also fills my need to have fewer dishes to wash.

The entire meal is prepared in one pan and there is enough inactive cook time that you can clean up the kitchen while it bakes. Then, 25 minutes later, the kitchen will sparkle when you put dinner on the table.

Ingredients for this skillet dinner

Just like classic ziti, this recipe calls for plenty of comfort food ingredients.

  • Pasta- Ziti, penne, rigatoni, or any similar pasta size and shape will do.

  • Tomato sauce- I use the variety of tomato sauce with extra garlic flavor.

  • Hot Italian sausage links- There are two reasons that I use links. First, they tend to be less expensive than bulk ground sausage, and I think they have better flavor. The hot sausage has a fantastic kick!  If you prefer it without the kick, use mild or sweet sausage
  • Canned fire roasted tomatoes- I recommend using fire-roasted tomatoes in place of plain crushed or diced tomatoes. They give Italian dishes a depth of flavor that makes them taste like they were cooked all day long.

    Kitchen tools you'll need:
    • Large skillet with a lid - To help the pasta cook evenly, a wide skillet works best, ideally one that’s more than 12 inches in diameter.
    • Mixing Bowl - I like a variety of sizes of mixing bowls and prep bowls, and this set has them all.

    Recipe notes for sausage and pasta skillet dinner

    Batch Cooking Pasta
    A quick tip for easy meal prep is to cook a large batch of pasta at one time. You can either use a large stock pot, or make it in a crock pot.

    Cook the pasta, then shock it in cold water to stop the cooking process. Then, drain the water and refrigerate the cooked pasta for up to 5 days, or freeze it in freezer storage bags for up to 3 months.

    When you reheat pasta after freezing it, just add 2 to 3 minutes onto the cook time.


    With love from our simple kitchen to yours. 

    Do you   love  TSRI?  Don't miss another recipe.  Click here to Subscribe to The Slow Roasted Italian by Email and receive new recipes in your inbox every day!

    Don't miss a thing! Follow us on Facebook Twitter Pinterest | Instagram   

    sausage and pasta bake in cast iron pan

    Yield: 16   
    baked ziti in cast iron skillet with one serving removed

    25-Minute Skillet Dinner with Sausage and Pasta

    This skillet dinner is the ultimate comfort food, combining gooey cheese with sausage and pasta. Make this easy recipe in only 25 minutes!

    prep time:    cook time: 25 mins    total time: 25 mins


    • 1 lb hot Italian sausage, removed from casings
    • 1 (14.5-oz) can fire roasted diced tomatoes with garlic
    • 1 (8-oz) can tomato sauce
    • 1/2 (6-oz) can tomato paste
    • 1 Tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
    • 16 oz whole milk ricotta cheese
    • 4 oz fresh grated parmesan cheese
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon black pepper
    • 1 lb dried pasta (ziti or penne are best)
    • 3 cups water
    • 1 (8-oz) package shredded Italian cheese blend
    • basil, for garnish


    1. In a large (12-inch) skillet over high heat, brown sausage, about 10 minutes. Add tomatoes, sauce, paste, Italian seasoning, dried pasta, and water. Stir to combine, cover and bring to a boil. Boil until pasta is al dente (has a little bite to it).
    2. Meanwhile; combine ricotta, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Stir until well incorporated.
    3. Stir ricotta mixture into pasta. Preheat oven to broil. Top skillet with shredded cheese and place in oven. Broil until cheese is bubbly and golden brown. Keep a close eye on it or you will have crispy cheese pretty quick.
    4. Garnish with basil. Serve and enjoy!

    This post was originally published in September 2013. The content was updated and republished on January 2, 2021.

    Disclosure: Posts may contain affiliate links. If you purchase a product through an affiliate link your price will remain the same and The Slow Roasted Italian will automatically receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting us, it helps us keep creating new recipes.


    1. You make the best stuff Donna! This one looks amazing too ............ and 30 minutes? wow!

      1. Aww, thanks Chris. Crunched for time, but we never sacrifice flavor. :)

    2. Your photos are always great but this first one is even better.

    3. I made this and it was SO TASTEY! The leftovers were just as great!!!

    4. a new dimension of taste! thanks for this
      LisaAnn from

    5. Can you use beef instead of sausage?

      1. Absolutely, however you will need to add seasoning. The sausage adds a great deal of flavor so you will need to compensate for that. I would add a pinch of fennel seeds, rosemary, sage and 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes. Enjoy!

    6. Have made your Baked Ziti but being there's just the 2 of us (hubby and myself) I cut recipe in half and also used 1/2 sausage and 1/2 hamburger and used my own seasonings. Delicious!
      Thank y providing quick and wonderful tasting recipes

    7. I have fry pans but they can't go in the oven. Can I just mix all together an put in casserole dish and bake? Not too sure about broiling. Have never done it.

      1. You sure can! You are really just putting it in the oven long enough to melt the cheese. To avoid this step you could simply stir the cheese into the hot pasta and serve. Enjoy and let us know how it goes!

    8. Thank you for all the cooking inspiration, Lori

      1. Holli@TheSlowRoastedItalianOctober 14, 2017 at 10:09 AM

        Enjoy, Lori!! Thank you!

    9. Hi! I'm trying to get the recipe for this Baked Ziti Skillet but it keeps sending me around in a circle...wasn't here (that I could see on my browser), went to home page and Recipes and 30-Minute Meals, clicked on this one, and it brought me right back to the page above. Can you please help me thru this brain fog - I LOVE baked ziti!!!

      Thanks so much!

      1. Holli@TheSlowRoastedItalianOctober 16, 2017 at 2:50 PM

        This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

      2. Holli@TheSlowRoastedItalianOctober 16, 2017 at 2:54 PM

        Hi JennieP, If you click on "CLICK HERE FOR THE RECIPE" under the picture at the top it will take you to our article on the Parade website. You will find the recipe there. Enjoy!

      3. This 1 has been our regular rotation for awhile. Quick, Easy, and or so Good. Leftovers the next day are even better. Thanks.

    10. I follow your blog and this recipe caught my eye. I misread and used a whole 6 ounce can of tomato paste. I needed to add an extra 1/4 cup of water towards the end of the boiling cycle to prevent sticking. The recipe was prepared in a 12-inch cast iron skillet. Lastly, I discovered I was out of hard Parmesan so I ended up using 4 ounces (by weight) of prepared grated parmesan spaghetti topping. The recipe still worked out great.Definitely use the Hot Italian sausage, as it provides the perfect baseline flavor. Since my fresh basil hasn't grown up yet, I sprinkled dried basil over the completed dish. I will add this dish it to my menu rotation.

    11. This looks delicious, and perfect for a hungry crew!! Thank you for the quick and easy recipe!!


    If you really like a post, please Facebook and give it a THUMBS UP or Pin It on Pinterest!

    We love to hear your comments and hear when you have used a recipe. ❤ ❤ ❤