This spicy sausage tagliatelle is made with a touch of white balsamic vinegar, fennel pollen, a sprinkle of sugar, and plenty of crushed red pepper. The finished product is a spicy sausage ragu that is hearty and warming. Whether you serve this spicy sausage sauce on tagliatelle or rigatoni, you’re going to want to add this recipe to your repertoire!
I was in the mood for Seafood Fra Diavolo but I had no seafood or white wine. I rummaged through my freezer and found hot Italian sausage. While nowhere near to seafood, I was in the mood for spicy, saucy pasta so I decided to make do.
The finished result was an ultra comforting bowl of pasta that is aromatic with subtle undertones of acidity from the vinegar.
How to make this spicy sausage tagliatelle:
This spicy sausage sauce does require a little bit of prep and you want to be sure to have your ingredients ready to go first.
Start by roasting two red bell peppers until charred all over. You can remove the blistered skins or leave them on, depending on your preference. Purée them in a food processor with 6 cloves of garlic and set aside.
Next, start the sauce. Cook one pound of hot Italian sausage until it’s completely cooked through and has developed some nice crispy edges in places. Add a diced onion to the pot and continue cooking until it is softened. Add plenty of crushed red pepper and fennel pollen, if using. Next, deglaze the pot with white balsamic vinegar and then add whole-peeled tomatoes, puréed red peppers, and a splash of beef stock. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 30 minutes until thickened.
Can’t find fennel pollen? Omit it or use a fresh fennel bulb, diced small, instead and add it with the onion. I would not use fennel seeds, personally.
Once the sauce has simmered, simply toss with cooked pasta of choice. That’s it!
Looking for more pasta recipes? Check my archives!
If you made this sausage ragu recipe, please rate the recipe below and leave a comment to tell me how you liked it! If you take a picture of it, please tag me on Instagram so I can feature you in my feed!
Spicy Sausage Tagliatelle
- Baking sheet
- Food processor
- Large pot
- Sieve or colander
- 2 tablespoons neutral oil divided
- 2 red bell peppers trimmed, deseeded, and quartered
- 6 cloves garlic peeled
- 1 pound hot Italian sausage loose
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 yellow onion peeled and minced
- 1–2 teaspoons crushed red pepper more or less depending on preference
- ½ teaspoon fennel pollen optional
- 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
- ¼ cup beef stock
- 28- ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 16 ounces tagliatelle, pappardelle, or rigatoni
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Minced parsley optional, for serving
Roast the red bell peppers:
- Preheat oven to 450ºF.
- Arrange the peppers, skin-side down, on a baking sheet and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of oil. Season with salt and transfer to the oven for 20–25 minutes or until the skins are charred and blistered.
- If desired, remove the skins from the peppers and transfer them to a food processor with the garlic cloves. Pulse until blended and set aside.
Brown the sausage:
- Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a wide pot over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook, breaking it up with a spoon for 15 minutes until completely cooked through.
Cook the aromatics:
- Melt the butter into the sausage. Add the onion and cook an additional 5–7 minutes. Add the crushed red pepper and fennel pollen and cook for 1 minute.
Deglaze the pot:
- Add the balsamic vinegar and beef stock to the pot and bring to a boil. Stir to loosen up any stuck-on bits from the bottom of the pot.
Simmer the sauce:
- Add the tomatoes, puréed bell peppers, and sugar—season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Break the tomatoes up with a spoon as they cook.
Cook the pasta:
- Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Once boiling, add the pasta and cook until al dente. Scoop out 1/3 cup of the cooking water and then drain the pasta.
Sauce the pasta:
- Add the pasta water to the spicy sausage ragu. Add the cooked pasta and toss to coat. Turn off the heat.
- Divide the cooked pasta between shallow bowls. Garnish with minced parsley if you like. Enjoy!