Italian Sausage Rigatoni with Spicy Tomato Cream Sauce
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!
If you have time, you have to check out our Sourdough bread recipe! We worked on it for two years before we finally published it. Our easy overnight Focaccia bread would be great with this as well!
If you’re in a rush but still want that artisanal bread, check out our no-knead skillet bread or our no knead dutch oven bread. Gotta have that bread!!
- 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.
I am planning on making this for my kids when they fly in for Christmas tomorrow! Looks so good!
Hey Joann! They are gonna love this dish, it’s crazy delish!
Can you something in place of cream?
It’s a tomato cream sauce, so I can only suggest maybe half and half.
Carol, we’ve been in the middle of the Texas snow storm and you can’t get any dairy products. Going into the storm I had a qt. Of heavy cream but by day 11, it is gone. I used full fat evaporated milk and it worked just fine.
Italian sausage is one of my favorite flavors! This recipe looks and sounds so good. I will be featuring it on this week’s Party in Your PJ’s. Thank you for linking up. Pinned and shared!
Thank you so much, Teresa!
I love recipes like this. Proper comfort food knocked up in a jiffy.
Thank you for sharing on the Whisk It Wednesday Link Party at Carrie’s Home Cooking. Tomorrow when the new party begins you will be featured. I hope to see you there tomorrow! Cheers~ Carrie
Outstanding recipe we just made more sauce than it called for
I made this last night and everyone loved it. Really excellent flavors and so simple. Thank you for sharing!
Hi, Jill! Thank you so much for coming by to tell us how much you liked the recipe!!! Always makes our day to hear from our readers. 🙂
I am back to your site to write this recipe down and add to my recipe box. This a compliment as I rarely do this. I made this dish for my children at Christmas, they loved it! I used spicy Italian Sausage and omitted the red pepper flakes. My sister is coming to town and I want to make it for her (mostly, so I can eat it again). Thanks for a tasty recipe!
Thank you so much, Joann! I hope your sister enjoys the dish. 😉
Is there anyway to make this recipe healthier? Looks really good, but very high in salt,carbs,calories.
Ed, sometimes you just gotta give in and be decadent. 😉 It’s a pasta dish so you are going to have a lot of carbs. I guess if you just have to make it a little healthier, leave out the pancetta. Sub half and half for the heavy cream, cut out the kosher salt. But I cannot guarantee it’s going to taste as good as the recipe is written. Thanks for dropping by!
How do I get your site on my email?
Rose, we’re presently between email subscription providers. I have added you to our subscriber list and will receive emails of new recipes once we start sending them out again. Thanks!
This is going right on my weekend recipe list. Just need the fire-roasted tomatoes 🙂
🙂 We hope you enjoy it as much as we do!!! Thank you so much for coming by.
Made this yesterday, sooo good!!
Super easy and delicious!!
Waiting for my daughter. Have not seen her for 6 months. This is the special dish I made. Looks and smells great. Family and good food.
Can you make this ahead of time and reheat it it?
Hi, Melissa. I find that this dish does not reheat very well. Thanks for coming by!
Hi! What stock would you recommend (I can’t have wine right now)? 🙂
Sara, I would use chicken stock.
Can you make this ahead of time?
Hi, Rachel. I don’t recommend making this ahead of time.
This was a “two thumbs up” dinner tonight! It was so easy to make. Will definitely be making this one again! Thank you.
Great Meal! We have made this dish several times and my family eats it up every time. So Yummy!
didnt use the wine or the pancetta.. subbed just pasta water and went with sausage alone. flippin INSANELY good!!
I whipped this up tonight for my crew & received a thumbs up from everyone! Great meal to pull together for a weeknight!
I made this for my husband, he absolutely loved it! I will definitely be making it again!
Made it last night…excellent! Huge hit with the family, quick and easy. I will serve it for a dinner party as well.
Planning on making tonight; going to add some gouda!
I made this tonight. I used half Hot Italian sausage and half sweet Italian sausage. Made the recipe exactly as stated. I took a picture and I have never really posted when I make things. He loved it! He said post it. I can’t figure out how to post the picture! Great recipe!
Last minute dinner, found this recipe. OMG!!! So good. I didn’t have fire roasted stewed tomatoes so I just added a little bit of liquid smoke. Definitely one of my faves!
Fantastic! I followed the directions as stated and added a little pasta water at the end as the sauce was pretty thick. My family loved it and will definitely make again. Thank you!
Awesome! Glad you and yours enjoyed it!
Do you drain the can of fire-roasted tomatoes?
No, just pour it all in. Thanks!
This pasta dish is so delicious and super easy to create.
Taste better than what you would get in and Italian Restaurant.
Crusty Bread and a green salad makes it a wonderful dinner for company.
Oh my goodness – this was delicious! I will definitely make this again. Thank you for the wonderful recipe!
Made this twice so far. Love it!
Delicious as well as quick and easy
I’ve made this a few times now and my family loves it. The only change I make is I add more spinach and the crushed red peppers. It’s a popular dinner at our house.
Ive made several versions of this recipe in the past. They all seemed to be missing something, not this one! I loved this dish way more than I thought I would. My husband raved about it as well.
I appreciate the way you format your recipes. The ingredients included beneath each step is efficient and unique. Nice touch!