Creamy Cajun Sausage Pasta

Creamy Cajun Sausage Pasta in a skillet

Juicy seared sausage, hearty green kale, and perfectly al dente rigatoni swimming in a spicy tomato cream sauce. #pastadreams


  • 8 oz Italian sausage, hot or sweet, see notes
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 an onion, chopped
  • 1 rib of celery, chopped
  • 1 chili pepper, chopped, seeds and ribs removed if you want less spice
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 3/4 C chicken stock
  • 1 bunch of kale, chopped
  • Cajun seasoning, a palmful or to your taste
  • 1/2 lb rigatoni, or whatever pasta you have on hand, reserve 1/2 C of pasta water
  • 1/2 C heavy cream
  • 3/4 C Parmesan, grated, plus more for garnish


  1. For the sausage: Prick the sausages a few times with a fork and place them in a large skillet. Add water until it comes up an inch above the sausages. Set the skillet over high heat, bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover the skillet, and let simmer for about 4 minutes, just until the sausages begin to cook and become firm. Remove the sausages to a cutting board, pour the water out of the skillet, and place it back on a burner over medium high heat.  Add 1 TBS of extra virgin olive oil to the skillet and add the simmered sausages back in, letting them sear on all sides for a couple minutes. Transfer them back to your cutting board to cool. Once cool, slice on the diagonal and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add your pasta, cooking for 1 minute less than the box instructs.
  3. In the same skillet you seared the sausages in, add another TBS of oil and the onion, celery, and chili pepper. Season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft. Add the garlic and sliced sausages, stir and cook for a minute or two, letting the sausages sear a bit on each side.
  4. Add the tomatoes, chicken stock, kale, and Cajun seasoning. Stir and let it simmer until the kale is wilted and tender and until the liquid has reduced some.
  5. Using tongs, transfer the cooked pasta to the skillet and stir to combine. Add some or all of the pasta water – just enough to make it saucy. Stir in the heavy cream and simmer for a few more minutes until it has thickened into a nice creamy sauce. 
  6. Turn off the heat and stir in the grated parmesan. Taste and season with salt and pepper if needed. Serve, with plenty of cracked black pepper and more grated Parmesan on top!


Since sausages usually come four to a pack and you really only need two for this recipe, I cook all four sausages in step 1 and save two for another use later on. If you’d rather use precooked sausage, just slice it up and skip step 1.

Feel free to use another leafy green or even broccoli in place of the kale – it all works!

Keywords: spicy pasta, rigatoni