A Family Favorite Recipe: Zucchini & Sausage Penne Pasta

For my daughter’s recent birthday, I asked her what she’d like me to cook and she immediately replied that she wanted the Zucchini & Sausage Penne Pasta that I’ve made for years. It’s a long-time family favorite that never seems to get old and is always a dinner party pleaser. And best of all, it’s an easy and relatively quick meal to prepare! 

We typically use regular pork sausage, but you can substitute with turkey without losing any of the yumminess … and for those of you following the Whole30, you can even substitute spaghetti squash for the pasta. 

Give it a try and let me know what you think!

Zucchini & Sausage Penne Pasta

Zucchini & Sausage Penne Pasta


  • 5 Italian sausges (3 spicey 2 sweet)
  • 1 large diced onion
  • 4 zucchinis
  • 2 cans of peeled tomatoes
  • 1 tsp of fennel seeds
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • 1lb bag/box of penne pasta
  • Fresh parmesan cheese


  1. Remove sausages from casing and brown
  2. Remove sausage meat from heat and drain on paper towel.
  3. Dice onion and sauté in meat fat till translucent
  4. Slice and half 4 zucchinis and to onions to brown
  5. Add back the sausage meat
  6. Add 2 cans peeled tomatoes (I squish threw my fingers)
  7. Add 1 tsp of fennel seeds
  8. Add fresh ground pepper
  9. Simmer for 30-45 minutes
  10. While the sauce is cooking, cook 1 lb of penne pasta in boiling water
  11. Drain pasta, but reserve 2 cups of the pasta water
  12. Once the sauce has simmered, add penne to sauce (add some pasta water bit by bit, until the right desired ratio for a thick, juicy sauce)




  1. Absolutely love this recipe!! Making a large batch and freezing it (without the pasta). It is a wonderful meal during the work week!Thank you!

  2. Angela T

    I just made this dish for my family. They devoured it! Thank you for sharing this fabulous recipe with us Mary Beth! : )

  3. I can see why this is a family favorite! It was so good! It was a big hit with my husband and myself. It wasn’t a huge hit with our girls, but they didn’t complain about eating it either. A win-win for everyone! 🙂
    Mary Beth, thanks so much for sharing a new recipe. I tend to get stuck in a rut fixing the same dinners over and over, so this was a very nice change. We will definitely add it to the mix!

  4. Kelley Garner

    Mary Beth, This looks so good! I’ll share with my mother! She’s always trying to find a way to cook zucchini, my daddy grows a garden and could feed our whole community on his produce! Thanks for sharing! Kelley

  5. Christie L

    I learned a valuable lesson making this…don’t squish the tomatoes WHILE putting them into the pan😬.
    The fam loved it, though!

  6. Christie L

    I told Ryan (my 5yo) I was making this tomorrow. To which he replied, “Well, you can make it, mommy, but I’m NOT eating it!”
    I told him he likes penne and sausage…and now he “supposes” he could try it. This is the kid who LOVES chocolate zucchini bread! However, he can’t SEE the zucchini in the bread!
    We’ll see!

    Thanks, Mary Beth

  7. Georgia L

    It was my daughter’s 13th birthday recently too and she didn’t ask for anything with a hint of a vegetable! Maybe her taste buds will mature with time. As a coincidence though, my husband and I had “zucchini” pasta last night – zucchini strips in place of pasta with salmon and prawns in a tomato base. I am rediscovering the versatility of that humble zucchini! Thanks Mary Beth.

  8. Sounds delicious. Do you think you could substitute bulk sausage for the sausage links? Thanks!

  9. Stacey AKA BraveWidowMama

    Looks amazing! Penne is my son’s favorite. I’ll be making this soon!

  10. Lisa Hall Collins

    This looks very interesting-thank you. My mother in law makes a zucchini/artichoke casserole (she’s vegetarian) that I’ve learned to love-it is great, but I’d love to try this one for our house as we’re not vegetarians and it’s easy to go to the garden for zucchinis. Thanks again!

  11. Pat Nelsen

    This works well with zoodles. Skip the calories.

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