This sweet potato and sausage ragù is intensely spicy with just a touch of sweetness for the ultimate Sunday pasta dinner recipe!
Is there anything better than a comforting bowl of pasta to help ease the Sunday scaries? This sweet potato and sausage ragù is comfort in a bowl. With a lightly sweet and very spicy sauce that coats rigatoni perfectly.
For this recipe, I used sweet potato to add a bit of fiber and nutrients to the sauce. Mashing the sweet potato as it cooks creates a warm and luxurious sauce with just a hint of sweet earthiness from the sweet potato.
How to make this sweet potato and sausage ragù:
This pasta dinner recipe does require a bit of prep, but once you have everything chopped, diced, and minced, it’s mostly just waiting for the sauce to simmer on the stovetop.
First, prepare your ingredients. You’ll be using the following:
- Onion, minced
- Sweet potato, peeled and diced
- Garlic cloves, minced
- Red Fresno chili pepper, trimmed and minced
If you don’t have sweet potato, you can omit or replace it with your favorite squash variety like butternut squash or acorn squash.
Once your ingredients are prepped, start the ragù. First, brown the sausage. I used a hot Italian sausage, though you can use mild or sweet. Remove it from the pot and transfer it to a bowl.
In the fat rendered from the sausage, sauté the onion and sweet potato until just beginning to brown and soften. Next, add the garlic and red Fresno chili pepper and cook briefly.
Create a well in the middle of the pot and melt some butter. Add dry spices–oregano and thyme–and let them sizzle in the butter briefly before tossing everything together to coat the vegetables in the spices.
From there, deglaze the pot with water, stock, or wine and bring to a boil. Add a can of whole peeled tomatoes and return the sausage to the pot. After that’s all done, simply let the soup simmer for about 30–45 minutes or until the sweet potato is very soft. As the sauce cooks, mash the sweet potato and tomatoes to break them up a bit.
To finish the sauce, add some roughly chopped basil and mascarpone cheese for extra creaminess! If you don’t have mascarpone cheese, you can use heavy cream or ricotta cheese instead!
How to serve the pasta:
After that’s all done, it’s just a matter of tossing the ragù with cooked pasta and you’re done! Serve each dish with fresh basil and some grated parmesan cheese. Mangia, mangia!
If you like it even spicier, I highly recommend grabbing a jar of Calabrian chili oil and finishing each dish with a drizzle of oil on top. Yum!
Looking for more pasta recipes? Check my archives!
If you made this 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!
Sweet Potato and Sausage Ragú
- Large pot
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 pound hot Italian sausage loose
- 1 yellow onion peeled and diced
- 1 large sweet potato peeled and diced
- 8 cloves garlic peeled and minced
- 1 red Fresno chili pepper trimmed and minced, or use crushed red pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 teaspoon dry thyme
- 1 teaspoon dry oregano
- 1 cup water stock, or wine
- 28- ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup or a pinch of sugar optional
- 15 basil leaves roughly chopped, plus more for serving
- ½ cup mascarpone cheese
- 16 ounces rigatoni penne, or ziti, 1/2 cup pasta cooking water reserved
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Chili oil optional
Brown the sausage:
- Heat the olive oil in a wide pot over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook for 15 minutes, breaking it up as it cooks. Once the sausage is completely cooked through, transfer it to a bowl.
Cook the aromatics:
- Add the onion and sweet potato to the rendered fat from the sausage. Cook over medium heat for 8–9 minutes until just beginning to brown and soften. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add the minced garlic and red Fresno chili pepper to the pot and cook for 1 minute.
- Create a well in the middle of the vegetables and add the butter. Once melted and bubbly, add the oregano and thyme and let them sizzle in the butter for 30–45 seconds. Toss to coat the vegetables with spices.
Deglaze the pot:
- Pour in the water, stock, or wine, and scrape up anything stuck to the bottom of the pot. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat.
Simmer the ragù:
- Add the tomatoes and the cooked sausage to the pot. Add the maple syrup or sugar, and then season with salt and pepper. Simmer, uncovered, for 30–45 minutes. Stir the ragù occasionally, breaking up the tomatoes and lightly mashing the sweet potato as it cooks. Taste and season once more with salt and pepper.
Finish the ragù:
- Taste the ragù and season once more. Add the chopped basil and the mascarpone cheese and cook for 5 minutes more.
Cook the pasta:
- While the ragù simmers, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the rigatoni until al dente. Next, scoop out 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water.
Sauce the pasta:
- Drain the pasta and add it to the sauce and toss to coat. Add a bit of the pasta cooking water to thin out the sauce. You may not use it all! Turn off the heat once the pasta is glossy and coated with the sauce.
- Divide the pasta between shallow bowls and garnish with more basil. Add a drizzle of chili oil, if you like. Enjoy!