Growing up in an Italian family taught me that Italian sausage can really be incorporated into any meal, at any time of day. Pair it with eggs for a hearty breakfast, throw it between a bun for a quick and easy lunch, or crumble it into pasta for dinner—you really can’t go wrong when you’re looking for what to eat with Italian sausage if you happen to be flush with encased meat but short on good ideas. In a recent taste test, the Sporked crew found the best Italian sausage you can buy. And in a slew of other taste tests, they’ve found delicious things—from garlic bread to red sauce—that just happen to pair perfectly with the porky, spicy, herbaceous flavor of Italian sausage. Yes, Italian sausage is good with pretty much anything, but these are some of our favorite foods to eat with Italian sausage.
- Pepperidge Farm Garlic Bread
There’s nothing wrong with getting a little crafty when deciding what to eat Italian sausage with, and we’re embracing that with this first pairing. Make the finest sausage hoagie to ever hit your taste buds by putting Italian sausages between the hinged halves of a loaf of frozen garlic bread, then load it up with onions, peppers, and mozzarella cheese. This Pepperidge Farm garlic bread cooks up crusty on the outside and soft, pillowy, and oily on the inside. It’s basically perfect as is—but Italian sausage makes it a meal. It’s an excellent hack and we think even Carmy from The Bear would approve.
Read the full ranking of the best garlic bread
- Rao’s Arrabbiata
The best spicy Italian sausage we found in our taste test brings plenty of heat, but if you want to amp up the spice factor even more, douse that link in a nice, spicy arrabbiata sauce. If you’re not familiar, arrabbiata is basically just marinara spiked with red pepper flakes for a little more heat. And, no surprise here, Rao’s does it right. The maker of our favorite marinara sauce also makes the best arrabbiata we found in our taste test. “It has all the rich, savory flavor of Rao’s marinara with a satisfying burst of heat on the finish,” Sporked managing editor Gwynedd Stuart wrote. If you can’t take the heat, pair this duo with a cold glass of chocolate milk. Yeah, we’re bringing back milk with dinner! Being seven ruled!
Read the full ranking of the best arrabbiata sauce
- Giovanni Rana Alfredo Sauce
My favorite move when it comes to making Italian sausage is getting one that’s good for crumbling (Sporked editor-in-chief Justine Sterling says to grab Boar’s Head Robust Italian Chicken Sausage) and putting it in a pot of pasta bathed in a rich and creamy alfredo sauce. It’s a meal that’s so rich it’ll knock you onto the couch for a week, but, boy, is it worth the fallout. Giovanni Rana Alfredo Sauce has everything you want in an indulgent pasta sauce. According to Sporked contributor Danny Palumbo, Rana alfredo is “creamy, salty, and buttery, just like we want.” He also loved that it tastes like it contains butter and garlic, rather than being all unseasoned cream. If you’re looking for what to eat with Italian sausage—particularly hot Italian sausage—this stuff is a creamy dream.
Read the full ranking of the best alfredo sauce
- Kirkland Italian Beef Meatballs
Turn your next sausage fest into a full-fledged meat fest by pairing Italian sausage with Kirkland Italian Beef Meatballs. Sure, meatballs and sausage sounds like a third grader’s perfect combo for a comedic meal (at a 2:1 ratio, of course), but as Gwynedd points out, slow-simmered Sunday sauces are always better with two meats. Even if you’re using jarred sauce, dump it into a pot, and heat the meatballs and sausage in the sauce to up the flavor quotient. Sausage and meatballs aren’t just for juvenile humor. In fact, meatballs are one of the best things to eat with Italian sausage.
Read the full ranking of the best frozen meatballs
- Kirkland Basil Pesto
Growing up, we never had pesto around, but as I’ve aged I’ve discovered how useful it is. Really, it can go with anything (looking at you, pesto ice cream), and that goes for Italian sausage, too. Making an Italian sausage hoagie? Spread some pesto on your roll for a nice nutty, garlicky, basil-y kick. Whipping up a quick pasta? Orrecchiette, pesto, and sliced-up Italian sausage is the truth and the way. Kirkland Basil Pesto from Costco has a cult following for a reason. “The flavor of the pine nuts really shines through, and the Pecorino Romano adds such a lovely sharpness, too,” Danny wrote. Go nuts and add a few spoonfuls of Alfredo sauce to cut all that spice.
Read the full ranking of the best jarred pesto