Creamy Sausage Rigatoni

February 27, 2022 17 Comments

This creamy sausage rigatoni is the easy to make comfort food you need in your life.

Creamy Sausage Rigatoni

From the recipe collection of Tara Ippolito

There’s nothing that a big warm bowl of creamy sausage rigatoni can’t fix. It’s the ultimate comfort food. It’s meaty, cheesy and loaded with carbs.

And let’s face it, we could all use something like this in our lives every once and a while.

I like to schedule my “once and a while” carb fest on Sundays. We always had pasta once a week in my house growing up. Sunday was the perfect day for it.

Everyone was home and we’d eat dinner early. Big meals like this creamy sausage rigatoni I like to eat around 4. I’m not exactly sure why but eating pasta early on a Sunday just makes so much sense.

It’s a tradition I’ve kept in my house with my own family now.

This creamy sausage rigatoni is very easy to make too!

This is a one and done meal. Meaning you don’t really need to serve sides with it. A salad and sliced Italian bread would be great additions if you’re looking for a little something extra but that’s really it.

other pasta recipes you’ll love:

Do I Have To Use Rigatoni?

No, you don’t have to necessarily use rigatoni in this recipe. I would nightly recommend you use a tube like pasta instead of something flat like spaghetti though.

This sauce is chunky and isn’t really great for a flat noodle. Everything will kinda slid off and not really pick up and hold all the ingredients well.

Any pasta that’s shaped like a tube or has ridges to soak up and hold all that sauce is a good choice. So what can you use? Here are some ideas.

  • Penne
  • Ziti
  • Cavatappi
  • Fussili
  • Rotini

Why the pasta water?

You’re going to see pasta water and an ingredient in this recipe. People who have never cooked with that before often ask me why it’s necessary to add it. Or they’re confused on what pasta water even is.

Well, pasta water is literally the water that you’re pasta is boiling in. Before you drain the water, reserve a ladle of the water to add to the sauce. The salty, starchy water is like pasta gold and here’s why:

  • The salty water adds another flavor level to the sauce.
  • The starch thickens the sauce and also helps it adhere to the pasta.

This little tip of adding pasta water works on almost every sauce. So next time you’ve got some in the stove give it a try.

How can I spice this up?

If you’d like to add a little spice to this creamy sausage rigatoni that’s a super easy thing to do.

  • First, try swapping the sweet Italian Sausage out for spicy Italian Sausage. That’s a great way to add a good amount of heat.
  • Second, add some hot pepper flakes to the onion when your sautéing it. The heat will infuse into the oil and create a really nice spicy flavor throughout the whole sauce. Exactly how much hot pepper flakes is entirely up to you. But a good place to start would be with about 1/2 Tsp and take it from there.
  • The above two can be combined or done separately. Just keep in mind it’s easy to add heat if you’d like some more but a little tougher to remove it.

Creamy sausage rigatoni recipe video:


  • Olive oil
  • onion
  • Sausage
  • Garlic
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Tomato sauce
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Italian Seasoning
  • Garlic powder
  • Rigatoni
  • Pasta water
  • optional: parsley/ basil & parmesan cheese for garnish


1. Sauté the onion in olive oil just until it’s soft.

2. Take the sausage out of the casing.

3. Add the sausage to the onions and start browning it.

4. Using your wooden spoon/ spatula break the sausage up into small pieces as it browns.

5. If there is a lot of accumulated fat/ oil you can drain it out.

6. Once the sausage is browned, add the garlic and cook that together for a couple of minutes.

7. Now add the diced tomatoes and tomato sauce.

8. Season the sauce with salt, pepper, Italian seasoning and garlic powder.

9. Let the sauce simmer for a few minutes.

10. Next add the heavy cream.

11. Stir the sauce to incorporate the cream and let that simmer for about 20 minutes.

12. Add the pasta water and pasta to the sauce.

13. Gently toss the rigatoni into the sauce until it’s evenly coated.

14. Plate the creamy sausage rigatoni and garnish it with shredded fresh parsley/ basil and parmesan cheese. Serve warm and enjoy!

Try my Creamy Tomato Ravioli Sauce next!

Creamy Sausage Rigatoni

This recipe for creamy sausage rigatoni
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: pasta recipe, rigatoni, sausage pasta, sausage rigatoni
Servings: 8


  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1/2 large onion, diced
  • 1 pound sweet Italian sausage, removed from the casing
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 28 oz can diced tomatoes (with the juice)
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • italian seasoning
  • garlic powder
  • 1 8 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 pound rigatoni
  • 1 ladle pasta water
  • shredded fresh parsley, basil & parmesan for garnish


  • in a large saucepan with a tall lip, heat the olive oil over medium high heat
  • add the onion and saute unitl soft
  • add the sausage and using a wooden spoon/ spatula break it into small pieces as it browns
  • once the sausage is browned, add the garlic and continue to cook it for one minute
  • now add the diced tomatoes and tomato sauce
  • season the sauce salt pepper, garlic powder and Italian seasoning. I really don't like to give measurements for seasoning because everyone has different tolerance levels. Taste your sauce and addd more if you'd like
  • stir the sauce until everything is combined and let it cook for about 10 minutes over low heat
  • stir in the cream and continue to let it cook for another 5 minute
  • add the pasta water and rigatoni to the sauce. Stir it all together until the sauce has coated the pasta
  • serve warm and with parsley/ basil/parmesan cheese if you want.
Tara Ippolito

About Al Dente Diva

Tara Ippolito is a self taught home cook from New Jersey and cookbook author of Fast, Simple, Delicious. Better known as “T” across social media, she makes easy to follow recipes using familiar ingredients. T uses her Tik Tok, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and Pinterest channels to share recipes and cooking tips for everyday people. Her motivation to share with her followers is simple. To inspire people to cook and become more comfortable in the kitchen.

As a wife and busy mother of two little boys she she’s always cooking fast family friendly meals. Sharing her kitchen with others that want to learn is a true passion of hers. As her social media platforms continue to grow she is committed to delivering consistently delicious content to her followers.

Al Dente Diva

Hello there! My name is T & I’m a home cook from New Jersey. I love to share easy to make recipes, cooking tips & kitchen hacks with people who love to cook like I do. My recipes are all easy to follow & use ingredients most people are familiar with. Being a busy stay at home mother of two, I have to cook delicious budget friendly meals that are fast to make. I hope you find something helpful here. Thanks for coming by.

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  • Anonymous March 2, 2022 at 1:17 am

    I made this recipe and my family loves it❤️!

  • Anonymous March 2, 2022 at 6:20 pm

    Made this last night. So delicious! The family loved it. Will definitely be making a lot more of this throughout my pregnancy

    • Al Dente Diva March 2, 2022 at 6:26 pm

      Thank you so much for trying it out and letting me know. Congratulations on your pregnancy too!

  • Anonymous March 8, 2022 at 1:13 am

    Soo good. My family loved it

    • Al Dente Diva March 8, 2022 at 3:23 am

      Thank you so much for trying it out & letting me know.

  • Melinda March 8, 2022 at 10:23 pm

    Made this recipe tonight and it came out delicious thank you so much

    • Al Dente Diva March 8, 2022 at 10:57 pm

      Hey Melinda, thanks so much for letting me know. I’m so glad you liked it

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  • Mike April 18, 2022 at 10:56 pm

    Just made this tonight and my family loved it, it was absolutely delicious! We’re definitely putting this one into our rotation.

    • Al Dente Diva April 19, 2022 at 12:08 am

      Thank you so much for letting me know. I’m so glad you liked it

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