It’s no secret that pasta is a weeknight staple at our house–and lately I’ve been leaning on recipes that rely on loads of veggies that can be quickly sautéed in one pan for a satisfying, plant-based dinner with easy clean-up. However, I’m also a fan of everything in moderation, and while I have been eating less meat, I like to use meat in small amounts, almost like a side dish or condiment to add flavor and protein to a meal. And to pacify my husband if he’s had one too many salads in a week.
Enter this one pot pasta recipe with sausage, mushrooms, loads of garlic, and arugula. The key to this one is that it uses a small amount (just 1/3 of a pound for 4 people!) of Italian sausage to impart a satisfaction level that feels way more indulgent than it actually is. My vision for this pasta was to capture the flavor combo of a classic sausage and mushroom pizza. It gets topped with parmesan, red pepper flakes, and basil, and may I just say? Mission accomplished.
This pasta is equally perfect for a quick weeknight dinner as it is for a Saturday night gathering with friends. Since it comes together so quickly (yes, in the time it takes your water to boil!) you can easily whip it up in 20 while your guests pour the wine and light the candles. Scroll on to see how this one pot pasta recipe comes together…
How to make mushrooms crispy
While your pasta water heats up, you’re going to cook the mushrooms–and buckle up, because I’m about to teach you the absolute best way to cook mushrooms for this pasta recipe or (IMHO) for any recipe at all.
It’s all about searing your mushrooms instead of steaming them, so they get that satisfying golden brown layer on each side, no mush in sight. To do this, you’re going to add mushrooms in even layer to a very hot skillet coated in olive oil. If your mushrooms are overlapping due to a lot of mushrooms or a small pan, you’ll want to do it in two or even three batches. The single, even layer is key to preventing your mushrooms from steaming, and making sure that each part of the mushroom is coming into direct contact with the heat of the pan.
Once you add them, immediately give the mushrooms a stir to coat them lightly in oil, then cook undisturbed for 3 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then stir well and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate and just try not to eat them all before you finish the recipe. I dare you.
Use sausage as a condiment, not the main course
This is my approach to meat lately–it’s about using small amounts to add richness and flavor, but viewing it as more of a flavor additive rather than a hunk of meat as the main course to your meal. It should go without saying that I support each and every person’s approach to their diets–this is just what’s working for me lately!
So, this recipe uses just 1/3 of a pound of sausage for 4 people, and with something as spicy and flavor packed as Italian sausage, a little goes a long way. All you do here is sauté for about 5 minutes over medium-high, breaking up with a fork and stirring occasionally, until cooked through. Then you’re going to add the sliced garlic and sauté until golden. Return mushrooms to pan, toss well, and turn off heat while your pasta cooks.
How to make it a one pot pasta–with easy cleanup
Instead of draining your pasta and then adding it to the pan, I opted for one less dish to clean by using a pasta scoop to transfer noodles directly from the boiling water into the pan with mushrooms and sausage. You actually want a little of the pasta water to come with it, as the starch in the water will help to create a delicious sauce that coats every strand.
Grate a bunch of parmesan over the top, along with lemon zest and juice, arugula, and a little butter. Toss well for a minute or two — put some muscle into it — until all the pasta is coated with a light layer of delicious, flavorful sauce. YUM.
Make this one pot pasta vegetarian
I initially tested this recipe without the meat, and it was still super delicious. I added a few pinches of Italian seasoning to give some of those spices (like oregano and fennel) that Italian sausage adds to the dish. Try swapping the sausage with a flavor-packed vegetable like roasted red pepper strips, green olives, or drained and chopped artichoke hearts to capture the old-school pizza vibes of the original recipe.
Tips on doubling this recipe
You can easily double this recipe to feed a crowd–just use your largest skillet, and definitely sauté the mushrooms in batches (see section above on How to Make Your Mushrooms Crispy.) Otherwise, just double all the ingredients and pass the parmesan, red pepper flakes, and basil at the table so everyone can garnish their own.
Looking for other easy weeknight pasta recipes?
We’ve got so many delicious and easy pasta recipes in our recipe files that are perfect for weeknight dinner. A few of my favorites:
Creamy Vegan One Pot Pasta. This crowd-pleasing pasta has tomatoes, basil, and the most addictive vegan walnut sauce–and it comes together in 15 minutes.
Rigatoni with Brussels Sprouts, Kale Pesto, and Lemon. This is one of our most popular recipes of 2022 so far–and it even made it onto our Plant-Based RE:SET menu.
Half-Baked Harvest’s Pesto Pasta Alla Vodka. It continues to be a fan favorite for a reason–and is perfect for those nights when you want to dig into something truly indulgent.
Simple Pasta Recipes with 10 Ingredients or Less! You’ll definitely want to bookmark this one.
Scroll on for the recipe for this one pot pasta with sausage and mushrooms, and don’t forget to leave a comment and tag us on Instagram if you make it!