This is my favorite method of making Italian sausage spaghetti. By browning the sausages first and then cooking them in the sauce at a long, slow simmer, the sausage is loaded with flavor and firm, but tender--almost meatball-like in texture. And we hardly need any seasonings because the long cook time allows the sauce to get infused with all the sausage-y goodness!


Recipe Summary

5 mins
1 hr 55 mins
2 hrs
4 servings


Original recipe yields 4 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Transfer sausage links into the hot pot. Cover with a lid and cook until beautifully browned and just barely cooked through, about 5 minutes per side. You can increase the heat a little if you like, but make sure the oil does not smoke. Turn off the heat and remove sausages to a plate to cool completely.

  • While the sausages are cooling, add wine to the same pot over medium-high heat. As it comes up to a simmer, stir the caramelized bits on the bottom of a pan with a spoon or spatula. Simmer until it reduces by about half, 1 to 2 minutes.

  • Add marinara sauce. Pour water into the jar of pasta sauce, seal, and shake to rinse out the jar. Pour that liquid into the pot and return to a simmer. Reduce heat to low.

  • Slice each fully cooled sausage into 4 pieces. Transfer sausage and any accumulated juices into the simmering sauce. Stir and increase heat to just between low and medium-low. Cook at a gentle, steady simmer, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour. Taste and adjust seasonings. Skim about 1/2 of the fat from the surface, and continue to cook until reduced and thick, about 30 minutes longer.

  • Meanwhile, bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Cook spaghetti in the boiling water, stirring occasionally, until almost tender yet firm to the bite, 10 to 11 minutes. Drain spaghetti and transfer it directly into the pot of hot sauce. Mix until thoroughly combined. Cover with the lid and let sit for 1 minute so the pasta can absorb some of the sauce.

  • Evenly divide pasta onto 4 plates and top each serving with 4 pieces sausage. Sprinkle with Parmigiano-Reggiano and parsley.

Chef's Notes:

You can use spicy or mild sausage links. Just make sure the sausage you use has enough fat that you can see it through the casings.

You can use 3 tablespoons water mixed with 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar, in place of the wine, but the wine really adds better flavor to the sauce.

If the sauce is too thick, toss another splash of water in.

I use a thick, #12 spaghetti, but any spaghetti or pasta will work, as long as you cook it in generously salted water.

Nutrition Facts

1336 calories; protein 58g; carbohydrates 123.3g; fat 64.7g; cholesterol 119.2mg; sodium 3324.6mg. Full Nutrition


Rating: 5 stars
I love every Chef John recipe I've ever made! I've become a better cook because of Chef John. This recipe was another hit got my pasta loving husband and I! Easy too! The only change I made was fact I used both 24oz jars marinara in full (more than the 32oz noted) and linguine for my pasta (because we prefer it over spaghetti. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
I love it before I made it because chef John has been on point with the recipes I’ve tried. Try the goulash recipe and you’ll feel the same way. Read More
Rating: 1 stars
Did not meet our expectations. Followed recipe exactly. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
This is a great recipe, I added about a tablespoon of minced onion after the sausage was fried and sautéed it for 2 minutes before adding the wine and a bay leaf when the tomatoes were added. Nice simple delicious sauce. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
I was fully expecting tough, dry sausage after simmering it for an hour and a half, but this was really delicious! The sausage was firm but tender, and the premade sauce was really enhanced by the simmering time. The only change I would make is NOT generously seasoning the pasta water. It might vary per brand of sausage and tomato sauce, but I found that even without adding any salt to the sauce itself, it ended up being a bit too salty. Your mileage may vary. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
I’ve made this recipe several times in the past few months. I make it exactly as written. It’s perfect! I always trust Chef John. Read More
Rating: 4 stars
Meh. I used hot Italian sausage so maybe that was too lean for this dish and went with Rao's pasta sauce... It was basically a spaghetti and meatballs week-night dinner for me. Nothing over the top, but good comfort food. May do it as a variation to spaghetti. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Thank you Chef John, excellent!!!! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
I made this for dinner thinking how different/good could it be, I mean I like spaghetti but, you know, spaghetti is spaghetti. Well I stand corrected. Chef John's recipe is everything he said. The white wine deglazing adds a subtle flavor enhancement and the sweet Italian sausage truly takes on the texture of meatballs once they've simmered in the sauce for 60 - 90 minutes. My wife and I were very pleasantly surprised by this meal. Read More