Home » Spicy Vodka Rigatoni

Spicy Vodka Rigatoni

If you’re from New York City chances are you know what “spicy rigs” is. If you aren’t from New York or have never heard of Carbone’s spicy rigatoni this post might change the way you look at vodka sauce. This spicy vodka rigatoni recipe is creamy, cheesy, a little spicy, and just addictive enough to keep you coming back for more.

When the pandemic hit, a ton of food blogs put out copycat recipes of Carbone’s iconic dish aka the spicy vodka rigatoni. I tried a few; some were good, and some not so much. I was surprised how many recipes were recipes for plain vodka sauce with some chili flakes in it. Nothing like the original. Also, some recipes called for multiple pots to make the sauce… nobody has time for that. This recipe is not only quick, and easy to make, but might just become your staple vodka sauce recipe.

ingredients for spicy rigatoni

oooo a fancy pasta shape

macro image of dried pasta

What You’ll Need

  • Pasta – Sure you can use any pasta, but then the recipe wouldn’t be called Spicy Vodka Rigatoni would it? Pipette is preferable (curled short rigatoni), but if you can’t find that then short rigatoni works just fine. Can’t find that? Rigatoni will have to do.
  • Calabrian Chili Paste – The key ingredient. This one might be difficult to find at your local supermarket. I love Trader Joes Italian Bomba Hot Pepper Sauce. If you arent near a Trader Joes, Amazon sells THIS.
  • Shallots
  • Garlic – A whole bulb. Leave it to me to provide a recipe that uses a whole bulb of garlic. if you are a pre-peeled box kind of person then 10-12 cloves.
  • Tomato Paste
  • Crushed Tomatoes
  • Vodka
  • Heavy Cream – If you are looking to cut down calories here, you can substitute for half and half, although the heavy cream is what makes it super creamy.
  • Parmesan Cheese – Go for good parm.
plate of spicy vodka rigatoni


Spicy Vodka Rigatoni

Print Recipe
This spicy vodka rigatoni recipe is creamy, cheesy, a little spicy, and just addictive enough to keep you coming back for more.
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Keyword Pasta
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Servings 8 people


  • 1 lb Pasta pipette or short rigatoni
  • 3 tbsp Butter
  • 1 bulb Garlic 10-12 cloves. minced.
  • 1 cup Shallots approx 2 large shallots. Rough dice.
  • 1/4 cup Tomato paste
  • 1/3 cup Vodka
  • 2 tbsp Calabrian Chili Paste or Trader Joes Bomba Sauce
  • 1 1/4 cup Crushed Tomatoes canned
  • 1/2 cup Heavy Cream
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese
  • Salt & Pepper kosher salt


  • In a deep pot heat 2 tbsp of butter.
  • Once butter is melted add the shallots and 1 tsp of salt and cook on super low heat for 10-15 minutes until shallots have sweated out and are translucent. * there should be no color on them, if they begin to brown turn down the heat.
  • Add in the additional 1 tbsp of butter and garlic. Cook for another 5 minutes until garlic has softened.
  • Increase heat from low to a low-medium. Add tomato paste and combine with onions and garlic. Add in the vodka and simmer for 3-5 minutes.
  • Add in calabrian chili paste, combine, then add in crushed tomatoes. Cook for 5 minutes.
  • Slowly add in heavy cream and stir to combine. Add in cracked pepper and salt to taste (approx 1 tsp of salt) cook on low for 5 minutes and stir in parmesan cheese.
  • Add in pasta and combine.


  • Want it really spicy add 3 tbsp of the Calabrian pepper paste!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating