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Carbone’s Spicy Rigatoni

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5 from 1 review

  • Author: Maxine Dubois
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x


This Carbone’s Spicy Rigatoni pasta dish is made with rigatoni, butter, onions, tomatoes, Calabrian chilies, vodka, and heavy cream.


  • 1 pound rigatoni or pipette
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter
  • 3 vidalia onions, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup water
  • 28 oz can San Marzano whole peeled tomatoes, hand crushed
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons crushed Calabrian chilies
  • 3 tablepoons vodka
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream


  1. In a large saucepan on low heat, add the butter and wait for it to melt. Stir in the onions and cook for about 4 minutes. Pour in the water and season with a pinch of salt. Cook for about 15-20 minutes, over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent.
  2. Pour in the tomatoes into the onions. Stir well and add the olive oil, Calabrian chilies, vodka and butter. Stir and bring to a boil. Simmer on medium heat for 20 minutes.
  3. While the sauce is simmering, cook the pasta according to package instructions.  Reserve 1 cup of pasta water.
  4. When the sauce seems about ready, add the cream and 3 tablespoons pasta water.
  5. Combine the sauce with the pasta.


  • Use high-quality ingredients: Since this dish has a simple ingredient list, it's important to use high-quality ingredients to get the best flavor. Use San Marzano tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil, and freshly grated Parmesan cheese for best results.
  • Cook the pasta al dente: To ensure that the rigatoni pasta has the perfect texture, make sure to cook it al dente (firm to the bite). Overcooked pasta can become mushy and ruin the dish.
  • Save some pasta water: Before draining the cooked pasta, save some of the pasta water. The starchy water can be added to the sauce to thicken it and help it adhere to the pasta better.
  • Adjust the spiciness to your taste: If you're not a fan of extremely spicy food, use fewer chili peppers or milder peppers like jalapeños. On the other hand, if you love spicy food, feel free to add more chili peppers or use hotter varieties like habaneros.
  • Let the sauce simmer: To allow the flavors to develop, let the sauce simmer on low heat for at least 15-20 minutes. This will also help the sauce thicken up.
  • Add a splash of vodka: Adding vodka to the sauce not only enhances the flavor but also helps to break down the tomatoes and create a smoother texture.
  • Top with fresh herbs: Just before serving, top the spicy rigatoni with fresh herbs like basil, parsley, or cilantro. The herbs will add an extra layer of flavor and freshness to the dish.
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Cooking
  • Cuisine: Italian


  • Serving Size: 1
  • Calories: 405.1
  • Sugar: 6.5 g
  • Sodium: 410.1 mg
  • Fat: 19.2 g
  • Saturated Fat: 8.1 g
  • Carbohydrates: 39.4 g
  • Fiber: 2.5 g
  • Protein: 8.1 g
  • Cholesterol: 41.7 mg