This one pot pasta dish is a quick and delicious meal that pairs savory kielbasa sausage with cheesy pasta. Quite possibly the perfect comfort food, this is sure to become a new family favorite!
There's something truly comforting about indulging in a warm and cheesy dish- and when it can be made in one pot in 30 minutes or less? I call that a win! Perfect for busy weeknights, this easy meal uses simple ingredients and doesn't have a ton of prep time. With just a handful of ingredients and a single pot, you'll have a hearty and cheesy dish that will please the whole family. Let's dive in!
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Why You'll Love This Recipe:
- Quick and Easy: For dinner time on busy weeknights, one pot meals are fantastic to get everyone eating quickly without a lot of effort. Or a lot of cleanup!
- Cheesy Goodness: Who can resist the allure of melted cheddar cheese coating every bite of pasta and savory kielbasa? This recipe brings the perfect balance of flavors and textures.
- Kid-Friendly: As a kid I remember having mac and cheese with sliced hot dogs. This is essentially the same idea but upgraded with smoked sausage and a homemade cheese sauce.
- Versatile and Customizable: Don't like onions? No worries, just leave them out! Want more veggies? Add in broccoli florets or sliced mushrooms.
Let's Get Started! Here's What You'll Need:
Kielbasa- flavorful kielbasa is a smoked polish sausage that is budget friendly and savory. It also keeps well, so I usually have some in the fridge. If you prefer itatlian sausage or have some cooked ground beef you need to use up you could swap those in for a different but also yummy flavor.
Yellow Onion- if this is a texture issue for your family, just toss in some onion powder instead. You can also swap in another vegetable you like such as broccoli, bell peppers, or snow peas. To minimize prep further you can use pre-chopped onion from your freezer section.
Minced garlic- I usually reach for the pre-minced garlic, but fresh garlic cloves are even better.
Short Pasta- Penne pasta is a favorite here, but whatever is in your pantry will do just fine. Ideally pick one with some grooves or ridges for our creamy sauce to cling to like a rigatoni or rotini pasta.
Milk- I'd love to say I do it for health, but I use 1% because that's what my kids drink. Whole milk will be a bit richer, and if you really want a decadent sauce substitute heavy cream.
Cheese- It's hard to make a cheesy pasta dish without well, cheese. Medium cheddar gives this a bit of a mac and cheese feel, but feel free to use your favorite meltable cheese.
Chicken Broth- Using broth instead of water amps up the flavor, and you can easily substitute beef or vegetable broth instead. Chicken stock or another bone stock is also great. If those aren't an option you can just use water instead.
Butter- The ingredient I forgot in the photo! Just to get the onion and sausage started, you can substitute olive oil if you prefer.
Being a one-pot dish, we're mostly just going to need that one good size pot with a lid. I'm using a saute pan, but a dutch oven would work well too- we just want it pretty wide and with decently high sides. You'll also need a cutting board and knife, and something to grate cheese with if you opt to grate your own. It melts nicer than the preshredded stuff, plus sometimes it's fun to take your frustrations out on a block of cheese. Carefully- don't shred your fingers!
How to Make This Smoked Sausage Pasta:
Step 1: Slice and Saute
Cut your onion and kielbasa into bite sized pieces, then add them along with a bit of butter to your pan. Set your stove to medium-high heat, and while that browns cut your garlic if you are using fresh. Once the sausage and onions start to brown a bit, about 3 minutes, then toss in your garlic and stir another 30 seconds or so.
Step 2: Simmer and Shred
Add your broth, milk, and pasta to the pan. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce to medium-low heat and simmer until the pasta is cooked, stirring occasionally. As a general rule, once covered it takes 1.5 times as long as the box directions in a one-pot dish, but how quickly your dish comes to a boil will impact that. While you wait for the pasta to cook go ahead and shred that cheese.
Step 3: Stir and Serve
Stir in your cheese until it is fully melted and combined. Give it a taste and add any salt and black pepper as needed, and serve!
Yes! Use the saute function for browning everything, and then cook on high pressure for just under half the cook time on the pasta box. Still stir in the cheese at the end after the pressure releases.
Absolutely! Just consider when is best to add them. The onions need the extra cook time so go in first, but to add spinach you'll want to wilt that in at the end.
It's great with a simple side salad, bread (like this focaccia), or just by itself! It's also great garnished with some extra cheese.
Want more easy kielbasa recipes?
I hope you enjoy this recipe, and that it becomes one of your favorite easy dinners. If you love it be sure to come back and let me know with a rating or review!
Cheesy Kielbasa Pasta Recipe
- 14 oz kielbasa sausage package sizes may vary- roughly one pound
- 1 ea small onion
- 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
- 8 oz penne pasta or other short pasta
- 14 oz chicken broth
- ½ cup milk
- 4 oz cheddar cheese
- ½ teaspoon black pepper to taste
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt to taste
- 1 tablespoon butter
- Cut onion and smoked sausage. Melt butter in pan and add onion and kielbasa, browning on medium high heat for 2-3 minutes. Add garlic and cook another 30 seconds.
- Add broth, pasta, and milk to pan. Cover and heat until boiling, then reduce heat to simmer, stirring occasionally. For penne, cook about 15 minutes.
- Once pasta is tender, stir in cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper and enjoy!
Nutrition information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate. It is recommended to use your preferred calculator with the actual ingredients you use for optimal accuracy.