This creamy lemon arugula pasta with sausage is one of my favorite pasta recipes. It’s tangy, it’s rich, it’s peppery, it’s spicy, and all of that equals pure comfort.
There’s something so lovely about arugula and lemon together. The arugula brings in that bitey, peppery flavor while the lemon brightens the entire dish. With hot Italian sausage, it’s a flavor combo straight from heaven.
In this recipe, most of the arugula will cook straight in the sauce. I like to arrange a few fresh pieces of arugula on the bottom of the pasta plate and drizzle them with a touch of extra virgin olive oil. I pile the cooked pasta straight on top. This will bring in a more intense peppery flavor with a little bit of the fresh green crunchiness you lose from cooking the arugula. This method works best with arugula, in my opinion. If you decide to make this recipe with greens like spinach, escarole, or lacinato kale, simply cook all of your greens in the sauce instead of reserving a few fresh greens for serving.
How to make this lemon arugula pasta with sausage:
This recipe is fantastic because of how easy it is to make. You need just a handful of ingredients, including:
- Sausage: I used hot Italian pork sausage, but try this with chicken sausage, ground chicken, or diced roasted chicken. You can even sauté a few chicken thighs or breasts and cube them up before starting the recipe.
- Aromatics: I keep it simple with shallot and garlic. Leeks would also be fantastic in this!
- White wine: Dry white wine like sauvignon blanc works really well in this. Pinot grigio would also be lovely.
- Sauce ingredients: The sauce is made using pasta cooking water, lemon juice, cream, and Dijon mustard. Right before finishing the sauce, you whisk in freshly grated parmesan, which adds a nice, rich thickness to the sauce.
- Pasta: Bucatini is my preference, but spaghetti or linguine will work well. You could even use a short pasta shape, like rigatoni or penne.
- Greens: The dish finishes with arugula and fresh parsley, adding a nice, peppery flavor and herby brightness.
Follow a few simple steps, and you’ll have a gorgeous plate of pasta in front of you in no time.
- Step 1: Brown the sausage.
- Step 2: Cook up those aromatics briefly.
- Step 3: Return the sausage to the pot and deglaze it with white wine and water. Bring it to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer until the liquid reduces significantly.
- Step 4: Make the pasta! While the sauce simmers, cook the pasta and reserve that cooking water.
- Step 5: Finish the sauce by whisking in pasta water, lemon juice, cream, and Dijon. Turn the heat down and whisk in the grated parmesan.
- Step 6: Throw in the arugula and parsley and toss with cooked pasta.
This meal hits all the spots for me. It’s comforting and rich, but the fresh arugula adds a nice, fresh crunchiness, and the lemon lifts up this decadent dinner.
If you’re looking for more pasta recipes, be sure to check my archives! And if you decide to make this one, please let me know in the comments what you thought of it!
Creamy Lemon Arugula Pasta with Sausage
- Large pot
- 1 teaspoon olive oil, plus more if needed
- 1 pound hot Italian sausage, casings removed
- 2 shallots, peeled and diced
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 1 tablespoon of butter, optional
- 1 cup white wine
- 1 cup water
- 16 ounces bucatini; 1 cup pasta cooking water reserved
- ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
- ¾ cup heavy cream
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- ½ cup finely grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
- 3 ounces arugula, plus a few pinches for serving
- 2 tablespoons freshly minced parsley, plus more for serving
- Extra virgin olive oil, for serving
- Salt and pepper to taste
Boil the pasta water:
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. As you wait for the water to boil, begin the sauce.
Brown the sausage:
- Heat the olive oil in a wide pot over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook, breaking it up with a spoon, for 15–20 minutes or until it’s very well-browned. Transfer to a bowl.
Cook the aromatics:
- Add another teaspoon of olive oil to the pot, if needed, and turn the heat to medium. Add the shallot and cook for 5 minutes until it just begins to soften. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute until fragrant.
- Melt the butter into the garlic, if using. Return the sausage to the pot and toss to coat. Return the heat to medium-high. As soon as the sausage begins to sizzle, pour in the white wine and bring it to a boil. Boil for 3-5 minutes.
Simmer the sauce:
- Add the water to the pot and return to a boil. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat and simmer for 20–25 minutes until reduced by at least half.
Boil the pasta:
- Add a generous amount of salt to the boiling water along with the pasta. Cook until al dente. Remove 1 cup of pasta water from the pot and drain the pasta. Set aside.
Finish the sauce:
- Add half the pasta cooking water, the lemon juice, and the cream to the sauce. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium. Stir in the Dijon mustard. Rapid simmer for 5–7 minutes until it begins to thicken. Once thickened, reduce heat to low.
- Sprinkle the grated parmesan over the sauce and whisk vigorously until completely combined. Taste and season to your preferences.
- Add the arugula, fresh parsley, and pasta to the sauce. Toss to coat until the pasta is warmed through and the arugula is just wilted. Add more of the pasta cooking water, as needed, to loosen up the sauce. Turn off the heat.
- Place a few pinches of fresh arugula on each plate and drizzle them with just a touch of extra virgin olive oil. Pile the cooked pasta on top and finish with more parsley and grated parmesan, if you like. Enjoy!