Photo: Justin Walker; Styling: Kaitlyn Du Ross
Hands-on Time
25 Mins
Total Time
25 Mins
Serves 4 (serving size: about 1 1/4 cups)

A sprinkling of crumbled spicy sausage makes a salty-savory finishing touch to herb-drenched pasta. Some pestos tend to go drab, but this one stays a brilliant emerald green.

How to Make It

Step 1

Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven. Add pasta to pan, and cook 8 minutes or until almost al dente. Drain pasta in a colander over a bowl, reserving 3/4 cup cooking liquid. Discard the remaining cooking liquid.

Step 2

Heat a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add Italian sausage to pan; sauté 6 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble. Remove sausage from pan, reserving drippings; drain on paper towels. Add garlic to drippings in pan; sauté 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add 1/2 cup reserved cooking liquid to pan; bring to a boil, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Stir in 2 tablespoons olive oil; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly with a whisk. Add pasta to pan; cook 1 minute, tossing to combine. Remove from heat.

Step 3

Combine about 2 tablespoons cheese and 4 3/4 cups parsley leaves in a food processor; process until finely ground. With motor running, add remaining 1/4 cup cooking liquid and remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil; process until smooth. Add parsley mixture and salt to pasta; toss well to coat. Divide pasta mixture evenly among 4 shallow bowls; top evenly with sausage, remaining 2 tablespoons cheese, and remaining 1/4 cup parsley leaves. Serve immediately.

Ratings & Reviews

September 16, 2015
I took some pasta water out when it was almost done cooking to make the pesto so the pasta wasn't cold by the time the pesto was ready. 

Too much pesto

August 07, 2016
This recipe was just ok.  I only used about half the pesto.  I think it would have been overwhelming with all of it added.  I also added about 8 oz. of sausage.  I did like the sausage and pesto together.  

CookinInColo's Review

September 17, 2014
I made as directed and we did not like this pasta recipe. The parsely was a bit overpowering for our taste. I would not make again.

daneanp's Review

December 16, 2013
Meh. I even added basil to the pesto. I liked the sausage on the top, but the pesto was pretty weak. Plenty better recipes from CL out there.

StacyYC's Review

September 30, 2013
I thought this was a pretty good recipe. I tried it because I had a ton of Italian parsley in my garden that I needed to use. I used turkey sausage instead of pork but overall, a good one. I would make again.

tfhernandezt's Review

August 26, 2013
This was very bland and dry. I would try doubling the meat if I were to make again.

SweetBeeCottage's Review

August 05, 2013
I enjoyed this dish, although my family found it a bit too "green.". Used chicken Italian sausage. Tasted best when a bite full had a bit of all the ingredients. Worth making again.

Samsublime's Review

July 22, 2013

CCutting's Review

July 15, 2013
Not worth it. I found the pesto to be very bland.

JanBeard's Review

July 13, 2013
I made this last night, the day I received my August issue in the mail. I didn't have any sausage so used bacon instead and it was delicious. The only issue I had was with the pasta getting cold while I made the pesto, even though I had all the parsley ready to go in the food processor and it does all come together very quickly. I reheated it once the pesto was mixed in. Next time I will not wait for pasta water for the pesto and prepare it before cooking the pasta, using plain water.