You'll love this Copycat Carbone Spicy Rigatoni recipe! With spicy Calabrian chili peppers, rigatoni, a little cream, and garlic, this pasta is just SO delicious.
This is a copycat inspired by Carbone Italian restaurant in New York City. At the restaurant, they serve a Spicy Rigatoni Vodka Pasta that's generate a huge fan base on social media.
The penne alla vodka dish is absolutely delicious - the secret is spicy Calabrian chiles, a little bit of cream, liquid gold pasta water, and a few tablespoons of butter that make a silky smooth sauce that's SO good.
One serving of the real Carbone Spicy Rigatoni is around $30 - but you can now make it in your own kitchen for multiple servings under $10! I love this recipe because it's fancy enough to make for a special occasion, but easy enough to make for a weeknight. Best of both worlds!
Why You'll Love this Recipe
Delicious - This recipe is so delicious. Each bite is packed with flavor that your family will truly love! It's really a perfect dish for the whole family. Great for entertaining too!
Approachable - This recipe is approachable and is easy to make. You only need a few kitchen tools to make this great recipe.
Leftover Friendly - This spicy rigatoni recipe is perfect reheated the next day or an excellent options for meal prep! I recommend serving with grilled chicken or Italian sausage.
Here are the ingredients you will need for this hearty pasta dish:
- Rigatoni Pasta - You can also make this with any pasta shape you love or have on hand!
- Olive Oil - Good olive oil!
- White Onion - Diced finely
- Sea Salt
- Black Pepper
- Calabrian chilis - diced. You can also use Calabrian chili paste. If you can't find them, you can also use red pepper flakes to bring some heat into the dish.
- Garlic - minced
- Vodka - Any brand works! Use whatever you have on hand. Or, if you don't drink, you can use chicken or vegetable stock as a substitute.
- Tomato paste - You can also substitute with good quality crushed tomatoes, like San Marzano tomatoes.
- Heavy cream
- Unsalted butter
- Parmesan cheese - for serving
Let's make this copycat recipe together!
Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil, white onion, salt, and pepper. Saute onion for 5 minutes, or until translucent.
Add Calabrian chili red peppers and garlic to the pan. Saute for a few minutes.
Add vodka and tomato paste to the pan. Mix well, then add heavy cream. Stir and reduce heat to low. Simmer while you cook the pasta.
Heat a large pot of salted boiling water over medium heat. Once the water is boiling, cook rigatoni until al dente, about 7 minutes. Use a large strainer to strain the cooked pasta directly into the sauce. This will incorporate the perfect amount of pasta water. Alternatively, you can save ¼ cup of pasta water, drain the pasta, and add to the sauce.
Expert Tips and Tricks
Here are some expert tips to make this delicious recipe perfect.
Make it Ahead - For super easy serving, make the sauce ahead of time. When you're ready to serve, add fresh pasta and some pasta to the sauce in a skillet, and heat until warmed through.
Complete the Meal - Complete the meal with some grilled chicken, Italian sausage, and a side salad for a delicious meal.
Don't Forget Pasta Water - Adding pasta water is super important and is the key to creating a super silky sauce. Don't skip it!
Here is some kitchen equipment you will need for this spicy vodka sauce recipe. You can find all of these products on Amazon.
Large Skillet - You'll want a high quality large skillet with enough room to make the sauce and add the pasta.
Pasta Bowl - I love serving pasta in good quality pasta bowls. They're perfect for a variety of dishes, so they're super versatile!
Rigatoni - Buying quality pasta online is so easy. This rigatoni is super high quality and you can have it delivered straight to your house!
Here are some common recipe substitutions and variations for this easy recipe.
Add Protein - Add a protein by adding meatballs, sliced grilled chicken, or Italian sausage. Or serve with a seared filet!
Spice Substitution - If you can't find Calabrian chilis, use red pepper flakes for spice in the dish. Or, if you don't want it spicy, omit the chilis altogether.
Pasta Shape - You can use any pasta shape in this recipe! Although it's classically served with rigatoni, this sauce is delicious with any pasta.
Frequently Asked Questions
The Spicy Rigatoni at Carbone is $32 for one serving. This version at home will cost less than $10 for 6 servings!
You can substitute chicken stock or vegetable stock for vodka in this spicy rigatoni recipe.
In this recipe, vodka will help deglaze the chilis from the pan. Vodka also helps the cream and tomatoes to bind, creating a creamy and silky sauce.
Recipe Storage and Reheating
Here are storage and reheating instructions for this famous spicy rigatoni recipe.
Refrigerator Storage: Store in an airtight continuer and eat leftovers within 4-5 days.
Freezer Storage: Freeze in a freezer-safe, airtight container and keep for up to 3 months. When you're ready to use, thaw in the refrigerator and reheat as instructed below.
Reheating Instructions: The best way to reheat this recipe is to heat in a skillet with a little olive oil over low heat until warm.
Other Recipes to Try
Check out some of our other easy dinner recipes!
Copycat Carbone Spicy Rigatoni
- 1 lb rigatoni pasta
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ½ white onion diced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons Calabrian chili peppers
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- ¼ cup vodka
- 1 6 oz can tomato paste
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- Parmesan cheese for serving
- Heat a large pan over medium heat. Add olive oil, diced white onion, salt, and black pepper. Sauté onion for 5 minutes, until translucent.
- Add Calabrian chili peppers and garlic to the pan. Saute for 3-4 minutes.
- Add vodka and tomato paste to the pan. Mix well, then add heavy cream. Stir and reduce heat to low. Simmer while you cook the pasta.
- Heat a large pot of salted boiling water over medium heat. Once the water is boiling, cook rigatoni until al dente, about 7 minutes. Use a large strainer to strain the pasta directly into the sauce. This will incorporate the perfect amount of pasta water. Alternatively, you can save ¼ cup pasta water, drain the pasta, and add to the sauce.
- Toss pasta in the sauce until well combined. Add butter and toss until combined. Top with parmesan cheese and serve.