Italian sausage rigatoni with a spicy tomato cream sauce is an easy, hearty, weeknight meal full of flavor and comfort.
Why You’ll Love This
An easy flavorful meal on the table in 30 minutes!
Control the heat to please your palette. Use spicy Italian sausage if you want to kick the heat up, or use sweet to keep it mild.
Fire-roasted tomatoes and pancetta add layers of extra soul-warming flavor.
This dish is perfect for a quick weeknight meal, but it’s also fancy enough for a dinner party or a romantic dinner for two. Some of our other favorite pasta recipes are One Pot Hamburger Helper, Chicken Spaghetti, Crockpot Manicotti, and Baked Spaghetti.
- Rigatoni Pasta – Choose rigatoni that has ridges for the best results. The ridges allow the sauce to cling to the noodles.
- Italian Sausage – You can use hot or mild Italian sausage. If using Italian sausage links, remove the casings before browning.
- Pancetta – Pancetta is a salt-cured pork. In a pinch, you can use thick cut bacon.
- Spinach – For this rigatoni recipe, we use fresh baby spinach. If you choose to use frozen, be sure to squeeze out the excess water before adding it to the pan.
- Fire Roasted Tomatoes – This recipe does not need jarred marinara sauce or tomato sauce. Use canned diced fire-roasted tomatoes. They add so much more flavor than plain canned diced tomatoes.
Seasonings – Onion, garlic, red pepper flakes, white wine, heavy cream, Parmesan cheese, kosher salt, and black pepper.
How To Make Italian Sausage Rigatoni with Spicy Tomato Cream Sauce
Cook the rigatoni according to package instructions.
While the pasta is cooking, brown the Italian Sausage and pancetta in a large skillet over medium-high heat until no longer pink.
Remove to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside.
In the same skillet, saute the onion until translucent. Add the garlic and saute for one minute.
Add the fire-roasted tomatoes and white wine. Simmer and reduce the liquid to about half.
Lower the heat, and stir in the cream, spinach, salt, pepper, crushed red peppers, Italian sausage, and pancetta. Cook until the cream is heated through and the spinach is wilted.
Add the Parmesan and simmer until the sauce has thickened slightly.
Drain the pasta, add the pasta, and toss to coat the pasta evenly. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley if desired, serve, and enjoy!
Comfort food at its BEST!
Ugh, I’m drooling as I write this post! I must put this on the menu asap.
Sides to Serve
Nothing beats a loaf of freshly baked bread to go with this sausage rigatoni recipe. Our Italian bread recipe is ready in about an hour and a half!
- Cook the pasta in a large pot. The pasta needs room to dance around in the boiling water.
- Season the pasta water with enough salt. The salted water should taste like seawater.
- Cook the pasta al dente! You don’t want mushy rigatoni.
- You can use Pecorino Romano cheese instead of grated Parmesan cheese. But please don’t use the cheese in a green can!
- If you love spicy, use hot Italian sausage. If you are more of a mild-spice person, use sweet Italian sausage.FAQs
- You can also substitute pork Italian sausage with chicken sausage. Although the flavor will be a bit different.
- If you wish to omit the wine, replace it with an equal amount of chicken broth.
- Although this recipe uses rigatoni, you can substitute ziti, penne, or mezzi rigatoni. Be aware that pasta with ridges works best with thick sauces. The pasta clings better to the surface ridges.
Let it cool to room temperature, place it in an airtight container, and refrigerate for up to 4 days. Reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave. Be aware that cream-based sauces are notorious for losing that silky creamy texture after refrigerating.
We don’t recommend freezing this dish because of the heavy cream. Dairy can separate after freezing and thawing.
Italian Sausage Rigatoni with Spicy Tomato Cream Sauce Recipe
- 12 oz rigatoni
- 12 oz Italian sausage
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 oz Pancetta cubed
- 1/2 medium onion diced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1/4 cup white wine or stock of your choice
- 14.5 oz fire-roasted tomatoes (1 can)
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 cups fresh baby spinach
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt the water. Add the pasta and cook according to package instructions. While the pasta is cooking begin the sauce.12 oz rigatoni
- In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Brown the Italian sausage and pancetta. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate, set aside.12 oz Italian sausage, 4 oz Pancetta, 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Add the onion, saute until translucent. Add the garlic and saute another minute.1/2 medium onion, 3 cloves garlic
- Add the wine and fire-roasted tomatoes, simmer and reduce the liquid by half.1/4 cup white wine, 14.5 oz fire-roasted tomatoes
- Lower the heat, stir in the cream, spinach, salt, pepper, crushed red peppers, Italian sausage, and pancetta. Simmer until the cream is heated and the spinach is wilted. Add the Parmesan cheese and simmer until the sauce has thickened slightly.1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper, 1 cup heavy cream, 2 cups fresh baby spinach, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Drain the pasta, pour the sauce over and stir to coat evenly.
- Serve immediately.