Sausage Rigatoni in spicy tomato cream sauce with plenty of garlic and Parmesan cheese. Delicious homemade sauce is easy and quick enough for weeknights or anytime you need a total comfort meal!

When it comes to comfort, Sausage Rigatoni is pretty high on the list. It’s ideal for busy weeknights, popular with almost everyone and if you’re looking for a quick and easy Valentine’s Day dinner (I beg of you skip the reservations!) this is it.

This dish has something for everyone: pasta, meat, a really great sauce and plenty of cheese. Let’s just say it’s saucy, a little spicy, decadent and crazy good in every way.

overhead view of sausage rigatoni garnished with parsley

There’s a perfect balance of tomato, cream and spice. Much of the flavor in this recipe comes from the Italian sausage so use this one or whatever your favorite brand is.

What makes this dish truly spectacular is that the little tubes of pasta fill up with the sausage and creamy sauce ~ bursting with flavor in every bite. 

What’s in Sausage Rigatoni?

  • dry rigatoni
  • olive oil
  • onion
  • Italian sausage (mild or spicy)
  • garlic cloves
  • tomato paste
  • crushed red pepper
  • dry red wine
  • canned crushed tomatoes
  • fresh thyme
  • salt and pepper
  • fresh Italian parsley
  • heavy whipping cream
  • grated parmesan cheese (plus more for serving)

How to make Italian Sausage Rigatoni:

Cook the rigatoni according to package directions for al dente then reserve 1/4 cup of pasta water. ,Drain the pasta and set it aside.

Add the olive oil to a large skillet over medium heat then once it’s hot, crumble in the sausage and add the diced onions.

I used mild Italian sausage but if you like spice, you can certainly use hot. Also my grocery store only had Italian sausage links (not bulk). If yours is the same, just slice the casing, take the sausage out and crumble it in the skillet.  

Cook until the sausage is no longer pink and the onions are tender, breaking up any sausage clumps then drain the excess fat. Don’t worry if you have trouble breaking up sausage clumps. Once the sausage simmers in the sauce it’s easier to crumble. 

Grate in the garlic then add the tomato paste and a small pinch of crushed red pepper flakes and cook 1 minute stirring frequently.

Pour in the wine and simmer over low heat 2-3 minutes or until it reduces by about half then add the can of crushed tomatoes, thyme and reserved pasta water and continue cooking over medium heat 3-4 minutes letting the sauce reduce slightly.

Fold in the cream and parmesan cheese then season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the drained pasta to the sauce blending well then simmer about 2 minutes or until everything is hot. Garnish with parsley and grated parmesan cheese.  

What goes well with Rigatoni and sausage?

Focaccia Bread is always a good choice, as is garlic bread or for a lighter side, an Italian tossed salad would be delicious.  

What wine goes with this dish?

You can’t go wrong with a good red with the rich flavors of this dish. I recommend Cabernet, Merlot or Chianti.

Looking for other pasta inspiration?

Baked Mostaccioli ~ pasta and homemade meat sauce blanketed in 3 kinds of cheese then baked to perfection. Easy, family-friendly classic recipe.

Pasta Alla Vodka ~ pasta in a rich, delicious tomato-cream vodka sauce then topped with freshly grated parmesan cheese for an easy, restaurant quality meal in under 30 minutes.

Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta ~ spicy Cajun chicken, pasta, sliced mushrooms and bell pepper in a creamy Cajun alfredo sauce.

Cheesy Chicken Pasta with Brussels Sprouts ~ pasta, chicken and sliced brussels sprouts blanketed in a luxuriously creamy smoked gruyere-white cheddar cheese sauce.

Enjoy!

If you tried this Sausage Rigatoni recipe or any other on the blog then I’d love to hear from you with a comment or star rating!

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overhead view of sausage rigatoni garnished with parsley

Sausage Rigatoni

Creamy tomato sauce with plenty of sausage, garlic and Parmesan cheese. Quick, easy weeknight comfort meal.
4.80 from 5 votes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4
Calories

Ingredients
  

  • 8 ounces dry rigatoni pasta reserve 1/4 cup pasta water when cooking
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 1 pound Italian sausage mild or spicy removed from casing
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • small pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine cabernet, merlot, etc
  • 14 ounces canned crushed tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley chopped
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese + more for serving
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
 

  • Cook the rigatoni according to package directions for al dente then reserve 1/4 cup of pasta water, drain the pasta and set aside.
  • Add the olive oil to a large skillet over medium heat then once it’s hot crumble in the sauce and add the diced onions. NOTE: (1) mild sausage used but can sub hot. (2) remove any casing from the sausage.
  • Cook until the sausage is no longer pink and the onions are tender, breaking up the sausage clumps then drain any excess fat. Don’t worry if you have trouble breaking up sausage clumps. Once the sausage simmers in the sauce it’s easier to break up.
  • Grate in the garlic then add the tomato paste and a small pinch of crushed red pepper then cook 1 minute stirring frequently. Pour in the wine and simmer over low heat 2-3 minutes or until it reduces by about half then add the crushed tomatoes, thyme, parsley and reserved pasta water. Cook over medium heat 3-4 minutes letting the sauce reduce slightly.
  • Fold in the cream and parmesan cheese then season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the drained pasta to the sauce blending well then simmer about 2 minutes or until everything is hot. 
Keyword italian sausage rigatoni, pasta, italian cuisine
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4 Comments

  1. This pasta dish is fabulous. The flavor and aroma says Italy. A glass of red wine and I’m at heavens gate. Maybe a cannoli for desert. Good job A Gouda Life.

  2. This is one of the best pasta recipes I’ve ever made. My husband and I both loved this. I really like the addition of the red wine in there. It tastes really good and adds flavor. I added extra crushed red pepper because we both really like spicy. Thanks so much for this recipe. I will be making it again and again. It definitely tastes like a restaurant-quality dish.