Cheesy Sausage Pasta (with an Optional Kick)

This has become one of my son’s favorite dishes and I’ve taught him how to make it so I thought I’d document the process with photos for when he wants to make it again on his own. I’m thinking he might actually do it because besides the fact it’s one of his favorite meals, it only took him about a half an hour from start to finish, including gathering the ingredients, prepping them and actually cooking. (I apologize for the quality of the photos, I took them with my phone.)

I’ve broken this post up into four sections:
(click a link below to jump to each section)
1. Ingredients
2. My personal twists on the ingredients.
3. Personal notes to my son about the prep.
4. The cooking instructions.

Here are the Ingredients for those who Prefer Precise Measurements:

(this is for a double recipe because when I made a single recipe there were no leftovers and plenty of sadness)
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ chopped medium onion
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 (13oz) packages of turkey sausage
4 cups chicken broth
2 (14 oz) cans diced tomatoes (undrained)
1 cup milk
2 (8oz) boxes of dry uncooked pasta
1 teaspoon pepper
salt to taste
1-2 cups water
8oz shredded cheese (cheddar, cheddar jack, Mexican mix, or your favorite)
¼-½ tsp of Red Pepper Flakes

Now here’s that list again, with my personal twists in parenthesis:
(If you want to skip right to the cooking directions click HERE)

olive oil (a few circles in the pan)

½ chopped medium onion
(I grab a bag of chopped onions from the freezer because I chop them in bulk and flash freeze them,
as shown in my post “5 minute onions in a flash freeze“)

2 tablespoons minced garlic
(We like us some garlic and we buy minced garlic in a jar,
so we tend to just plop a few heaping spoonfuls in,
regardless of what any recipe calls for. We actually ran out
of garlic the last time so we substituted garlic powder.)

2 (13oz) packages of turkey sausage
(I use precooked. Hillshire or Butterball, whatever is BOGO,
sliced lengthwise and then crosswise to make it go further
and be more evenly distributed throughout the dish.)

4 cups chicken broth
(Chicken broth can get expensive, so most of the time, I substitute
1 chicken bullion cube in one cup of water for one cup of chicken broth.)

2 (14 oz) cans diced tomatoes
(We go for no salt added because the sausage and the broth have plenty.
And we get petite diced, because we’ve discovered that
tomatoes are eaten much more often in this house when they are tiny.)

1 cup milk
(We use skim milk.
and Note to My Son: please use the same measuring cup
for the milk as you used for the chicken broth.)

2 (8oz) boxes of dry pasta
(We like bowtie or penne the best for this recipe
and we stock up on the BOGOs)

1 teaspoon pepper

salt to taste
(we don’t add any extra salt – again, because the chicken broth and sausage add enough.)

1-2 cups water
(I add just enough to cover the pasta because the liquid from the broth, tomatoes and milk isn’t usually enough.)

8oz shredded cheese
(8oz is a bag of shredded cheese and I’ve never used the entire bag.
We’ve used cheddar, cheddar jack, a blended Mexican mix – use your favorite)

Optional Kick – ¼-½ teaspoon of Red Pepper Flakes
(You don’t have to add this at all, but this is probably what makes this dish one of my son’s favorites.
I’ve added an entire teaspoon before, and while my husband and son liked it, the kick was a bit too much for me.

This next section contains Notes to My Son, so feel free to skip it and move on to the directions.

– Do yourself a favor. Gather and prep before you start cooking, it makes things much easier and faster.

– Take the onions out of the freezer so they can begin to thaw out. If we’re out of freezer
onions, use dried minced onions on the rack on the door of the pantry. Or you could actually chop a real onion. (insert Zak and Cody laugh here.)

– Open and crumble 4 bullion cubes in 2 cups of water and let them start melting, you can add the extra two cups of water to the pot later.

– If we’re out of garlic, use garlic powder – and don’t be stingy with it.

– Slice all the sausage. Don’t forget to bend your knuckle so you won’t cut your finger. Love, mom.

– Open the tomatoes before you start cooking. And then let the cat smell the lid when he comes running to prove to him you didn’t actually open a can of tuna.

– Don’t forget to cover the pan (with the correct lid) while it simmers.


1. Heat the pan to medium high and swirl it with a few circles of olive oil.
2. Add onions and garlic and saute for about 2 minutes, stirring a few times.
3. Add the sausage and cook for about 3 to 4 minutes, stirring a few times (longer if you use uncooked sausage).
4. Add the 4 cups of chicken broth, 2 cans of tomatoes, 1 cup of milk, 1 teaspoon of pepper and the preferred amount red pepper flakes. Stir to mix everything up.
5. Add both boxes of pasta and stir to mix everything up.

After adding enough water to cover pasta.
Not enough liquid to cover pasta.
6. Add only as much water as needed to cover the pasta.
7. Bring to a boil.
8. Reduce heat, COVER and simmer for about 15 minutes or until pasta is cooked. Stir a few times because the pasta tends to stick to the bottom of the pan.
9. Turn off the heat and take the lid off, letting it sit for a few minutes.
10. Add about half the bag of cheese and stir to mix and melt, then add additional cheese to taste.


A shout out to for the original recipe that inspired this adaptation! I thank you and my son thanks you!

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