This rigatoni is drenched in a rich, spicy and creamy tomato sauce. Better still – it’s all made in one pot!
I’m not gonna beat around this bush with this one. We’re talking cream, we’re talking carbs, but god darn it we’re talking delicious. Follow me…
To start the recipe, we’re going to fry off some pancetta. This will not only add heaps of flavour to the sauce, but it’ll also provide enough fat to fry the onion.
Do I have to add pancetta?
If you can, then absolutely do. You can also sub bacon if you don’t have pancetta (see below for veggie alternatives).
Where does the spice come from?
Good old-fashioned dried chilli flakes, which I believe are often referred to as ‘red pepper flakes’ in the US. These are the easiest, most economic way to add spice to most things. Because you simmer them in the sauce too, they get to transfer their heat to the entirety of the sauce, instead of just tiny pockets of spice.
Tomato Based Sauce
Whilst this pasta is gorgeously creamy, its roots are tomato-based. This comes from both sun dried tomatoes and tomato puree (paste). It’s important to fry the tomato puree for a couple of mins. I know it sounds odd, but caramelizing the tomato puree changes the flavour quite considerably. It turns from quite a tart flavour to a much sweeter one.
Process shots: add pancetta to large pot (photo 1), fry until crisp (photo 2), fry onion then fry garlic, chilli flakes and sun dried tomatoes (photo 3), fry tomato puree (photo 4).
One Pot Spicy Rigatoni
Once you’ve fried the tomato puree, you’ll want to add some white wine. This will not only help deglaze the pan, but it’ll also help cut through the richness of the sauce. It is however important to reduce the wine to burn off most of the alcohol, otherwise, it’ll be too pungent. Something cheap will do the trick, just so long as it’s dry, not sweet.
From there, we can add in the stock, cream and uncooked pasta.
Why cook the pasta in the same pot?
- Convenience – less washing up!
- Flavour – as the pasta cooks it also takes on the flavour of the liquid it’s cooking in.
Sauce Consistency & Pasta Texture
As the pasta cooks, it will release starch into the sauce, which will thicken it and create a creamy, glossy texture. The end result should be a fairly thick sauce that clings to the pasta. The pasta should be perfectly al dente by this point. If for whatever reason the sauce thickens too much before the pasta cooks, you can very easily fix this by just adding in more water as needed until the pasta cooks.
Process shots: simmer wine (photo 5), add stock, cream and pasta (photo 6), simmer and stir until cooked (photo 7), stir in parmesan and basil (photo 8).
Spicy Rigatoni FAQ
How do I prevent the sauce from curdling?
So long as you’re using heavy (US) double (UK) cream, you should be fine. You might only see curdling if cold cream hits boiling hot stock. To prevent this, just bring the cream to room temp and avoid using the stock when it’s freshly boiled.
How spicy is this pasta?
It’s definitely got a kick – I’d say 6 or 7/10. You can adjust this to your taste though by using less or more chilli flakes.
Can I make this vegetarian?
If I want to make this veggie I usually replace the pancetta with spinach (stir through at the end with the basil, around 3.5oz/100g works well). I then also stir in a pinch more parmesan to replace the loss of salty/richness from the pancetta. Also, be aware parmesan may not be vegetarian, so use a vegetarian variety if needed.
Can I use a different kind of pasta?
Yep! Any shortcut pasta will do the trick, I just like rigatoni 🙂
Serving Spicy Rigatoni
Once cooked, serve this up with some extra fresh basil and a pinch of chilli flakes. If you watched the video (which is in the recipe card below also), you will see I snuck on some burrata, which does happen sometimes. But that’s totally optional!
Alrighty, let’s tuck into the full recipe for this spicy rigatoni shall we?!
How to make Spicy Rigatoni (Full Recipe & Video)
One Pot Spicy Rigatoni
- Large Pot & Wooden Spoon
- Sharp Knife & Chopping Board
- Jug (for stock)
- Fine Cheese Grater
Ingredients (check list):
- 14oz / 400g uncooked Rigatoni, or other short cut pasta
- 4 cups / 1 litre Chicken Stock, preferably not boiling hot (see notes)
- 1 cup / 250ml Heavy/Double Cream, at room temp
- 3/4 cup / 100g Sun Dried Tomatoes, finely diced
- 1/3 cups / 3oz / 85g Tomato Puree (tomato paste in US)
- 1/3 cup / 1oz / 30g freshly grated Parmesan
- 1/3 cup / 80ml Dry White Wine (see notes)
- 5oz / 150g Pancetta (see notes)
- 1 medium Onion, finely diced
- 2 cloves of Garlic, finely diced
- 1/2 small bunch Fresh Basil (~2 heaped tbsp finely diced)
- 1 tsp Chilli Flakes (see notes)
- Salt & Pepper, to taste
- In a large pot over low-medium heat add the pancetta. Gently fry to render down the fat until the pancetta is crisp. Raise heat slightly to medium and add in the onion. Fry until soft & golden, then add sun dried tomatoes, garlic & chilli flakes. Fry for a further 2mins.
- Add in the tomato puree/paste and fry for 2 mins (it's important to fry the paste so it caramelizes and sweetens). Pour in the wine and deglaze the pan with your wooden spoon. Allow to bubble for a few mins, or until the paste re-thickens (important to burn off the alcohol).
- Pour in the chicken stock & cream and give everything a good stir, scraping the base of the pot if needed. Add in the rigatoni and bring to a gentle simmer. Turn heat to low-medium and cook the pasta until al dente, stirring frequently as you go. If the sauce soaks up before the pasta cooks, just add in more water (preferably hot) a splash at a time until the pasta cooks through and the sauce thickens and clings to it.
- Turn off the heat and stir through the parmesan and basil. Adjust seasoning/spice if needed, then serve up and enjoy!
Quick 1 min demo!
Your Private Notes:
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