summer skillet pasta

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 6


  • 8 oz. penne pasta
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 small zucchini, sliced
  • 1 small yellow squash, sliced
  • 8 oz. sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
  • ½ red onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • kosher salt and cracked black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon prepared pesto
  • 1 (28 oz.) jar marinara sauce
  • cup heavy cream (optional)
  • cup fresh basil, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • balsamic vinegar (optional), drizzled for garnish


  • Preheat oven to 400°F.
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, cook 8 oz. pasta according to package directions until al dente; drain well.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large (at least 12”) oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 sliced zucchini and 1 sliced squash. Season with a big pinch salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from skillet and set aside.
  • Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the skillet. Stir in 8 oz. sausage, and cook, crumbling with a wooden spoon. Add 1 chopped bell pepper and ½ chopped onion; cook until golden, about 4-5 minutes.
  • Stir in 1 tablespoon pesto, 28 oz. marinara sauce, and ⅓ cup heavy cream. Reduce heat and simmer until slightly thickened, about 7-10 minutes; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  • Stir in cooked pasta, zucchini, squash and ⅓ cup chopped basil until well combined; sprinkle with ½ cup shredded Parmesan.
  • Transfer to the oven and bake until bubbly and golden brown, about 10 minutes.
  • Serve immediately topped with basil and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar, if desired.


  • Serve with crusty garlic bread and my favorite side salad or a bagged Caesar Salad Mix to complete this meal.


  • Protein: Swap sausage with any ground meat– chicken, turkey, pork or beef.
  • Vegetarian: Remove sausage. Add 1 can chickpea, drained and rinsed.
  • Gluten Free: Use a gluten-free penne pasta. I recommend the Barilla Gluten Free Pasta.


  • Prep veggies ahead of time and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.


Calories: 447kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 50mg | Sodium: 981mg | Potassium: 767mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 1623IU | Vitamin C: 46mg | Calcium: 158mg | Iron: 3mg