Italian Sausage Rigatoni

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Today, I’m thrilled to share a recipe that’s close to my heart and has warmed the hearts (and bellies) of many: Italian Sausage Rigatoni.

A pasta recipe that combines the rich flavors of Italian sausage, the creamy goodness of heavy cream, and the hearty satisfaction of rigatoni pasta.

Every time I make this creamy Italian Sausage Rigatoni, I’m transported back to the cozy family gatherings of my childhood.

The rich aroma of the sausage mingling with the fresh basil and creamy sauce never fails to put a smile on my face.

This is a dish that brings loved ones together, sparks laughter around the table, and leaves everyone asking for seconds.

Side view of a white plate presenting Italian sausage rigatoni.

The Best Creamy Italian Sausage Rigatoni Recipe

This classic Italian dish is surprisingly simple to make and can be cooked on the stovetop with basic ingredients in under 30 minutes.

It’s an easy weeknight meal that will quickly become a family favorite.

You don’t have to be a professional chef to whip up this restaurant-quality pasta dish.

So go ahead and surprise your family with this delicious, one-pot comfort food!

Overhead shot of a white plate filled with delicious Italian sausage rigatoni.

Why You’ll Love this Creamy Sausage Pasta Recipe

  1. Family-Friendly: The comforting flavors and creamy sauce make it a hit with both kids and adults. It’s a great way to introduce different foods to picky eaters.
  2. Easy Cleanup: The recipe requires only a skillet, minimizing the number of dishes to wash. This convenient aspect makes cleanup a breeze.
  3. Quick and Easy Dinner: With dinner ready in under 30 minutes, this simple rigatoni dinner is perfect for busy weeknights when you want a delicious and satisfying family meal without spending hours in the kitchen.
  4. Budget-Friendly: The recipe features simple ingredients, making it a cost-effective choice that doesn’t compromise on taste. It’s a delicious way to enjoy a satisfying hearty meal without breaking the bank.
A white plate with Italian sausage rigatoni, a slice of garlic bread on the side.

Italian Sausage Rigatoni Ingredients

These ingredients come together to create a flavorful and satisfying Italian Sausage Rigatoni dish that combines the richness of the sausage, the creaminess of the sauce, and the comforting texture of rigatoni pasta.

(See the recipe card below for full ingredient list with quantities & instructions)

  • Rigatoni: Rigatoni is a type of pasta with large, ridged tubes that are perfect for holding onto sauces. It’s hearty and substantial, making it an ideal choice for this dish.
  • Italian Sausage (spicy or mild): Italian sausage is a flavorful and savory sausage typically seasoned with a blend of Italian herbs and spices. You can choose between spicy or mild depending on your preference for heat.
  • Onion: The chopped onion adds a sweet and aromatic base to the sauce. It helps build depth of flavor in the dish as it cooks.
  • Garlic: Minced garlic adds a pungent and aromatic element to the sauce, enhancing the overall taste of the dish.
  • Crushed Tomatoes: Crushed tomatoes provide the base for the sauce. They have a slightly chunky texture and a vibrant tomato flavor that adds richness to the dish.
  • Heavy Cream: Heavy cream contributes a luxurious and creamy texture to the sauce, creating a velvety consistency that complements the other flavors.
  • Fresh Basil: Fresh basil is an optional but delightful addition. It adds a burst of fresh herbal flavor and a touch of brightness to the dish.
  • Parmesan Cheese: Freshly grated Parmesan cheese is used for its rich, nutty, and savory flavor. It’s often used as a finishing touch to add depth to the dish.
  • Salt and Pepper: These common seasonings are used to enhance the flavors of the ingredients. Salt brings out the natural flavors, while pepper adds a subtle kick.
Close-up view of Italian sausage rigatoni and fresh basil served on a white plate.

How to Make Italian Sausage Rigatoni

This recipe serves approximately 6 people.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to making delicious Italian Sausage Rigatoni

  1. Cook the Rigatoni:

– Fill a large pot with water and add a generous amount of salt.

– Bring the water to a boil over high heat.

– Add the rigatoni and cook according to the package instructions until al dente.

– Drain the pasta and set it aside.

  1. Prepare the Sausage:

– While the pasta is cooking, remove the Italian sausage from its casing.

– In a large skillet or pan, heat a tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat.

– Add the sausage meat to the pan, breaking it up into smaller pieces with a spatula or wooden spoon.

– Cook the sausage until browned and cooked through. Once cooked, transfer the sausage to a plate and set aside.

  1. Saute Onion and Garlic:

– In the same skillet, add a bit more olive oil if needed.

– Add the chopped onion and sauté for about 2-3 minutes, or until it becomes translucent.

– Add the minced garlic and sauté for another 1-2 minutes, being careful not to let it brown.

  1. Add Crushed Tomatoes and Heavy Cream:

– Pour in the can of crushed tomatoes into the skillet with the sautéed onions and garlic.

– Stir well to combine, and let the mixture simmer for about 5 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld.

– Reduce the heat to medium-low and pour in the heavy cream.

– Stir the cream into the tomato sauce until well combined. Allow it to simmer for an additional 2-3 minutes, allowing the sauce to thicken slightly.

  1. Combine Sausage and Sauce:

– Return the cooked Italian sausage to the skillet and stir it into the tomato cream sauce.

– Let the mixture simmer together for a few more minutes to allow the sausage to absorb some of the flavors.

  1. Season and Add Pasta:

– Taste the sauce and season with salt and pepper according to your preference.

– Gently fold in the cooked rigatoni, ensuring that the pasta is well-coated with the sauce.

  1. Serve:

– Divide the Italian Sausage Rigatoni among serving plates.

– If desired, sprinkle torn fresh basil over each serving and top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Italian sausage rigatoni on a white plate, beautifully lit with natural light.

Note: Feel free to customize this recipe by adding vegetables like spinach, mushrooms, or bell peppers to the sauce for extra color and nutrition.

Storage and Reheating Tips

Storage:Store leftover Italian Sausage Rigatoni in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.

Reheating:To reheat, place the desired portion in a microwave-safe dish, cover loosely, and heat in the microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring in between, until heated through. Alternatively, reheat on the stovetop over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until warmed.

Note: Pasta dishes with cream-based sauces may thicken in the refrigerator. You can revive the sauce by adding a splash of milk or cream while reheating to restore the desired consistency.

Overhead shot of a white plate filled with delicious Italian sausage rigatoni.

Variations and Substitutions

  • Vegetarian Option: Substitute the Italian sausage with plant-based sausage or your favorite meatless alternative for a vegetarian version.
  • Meat Variation: Try using different types of sausage like chorizo, chicken sausage, or turkey sausage for a unique twist on the dish. Swap the Italian sausage with cooked ground beef, chicken, or shrimp for different protein options.
  • Pasta Swap: While rigatoni is traditional, you can use other pasta shapes like penne, fettuccine, or even spaghetti if you prefer.
  • Gluten-Free: For a gluten-free version, use gluten-free pasta and ensure any sausage used is gluten-free as well.
  • Low-Carb: Replace pasta with spiralized zucchini or use a low-carb pasta alternative for a lighter option.
Italian sausage rigatoni with fresh basil garnish on a white plate with fork and knife on the side.

Other Pasta with Sausage Recipes to Try!

Italian sausage rigatoni on a white plate, beautifully lit with natural light.
Yield: 6 servings

One Pot Italian Sausage Rigatoni

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

A restaurant-quality meal at home with our classic Italian Sausage Rigatoni.

This simple pasta recipe, cooked on the stovetop, brings together basic ingredients to create a creamy sauce that is perfect for an easy weeknight dinner.

Ready in under 30 minutes, ideal for both a quiet date night dinner and satisfying family dinners, this classic Italian pasta dish will make any weeknight feel special.


  • 16 ounces rigatoni
  • 16 ounces Italian sausage (spicy or mild)
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (14 fluid ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Fresh basil, torn (optional)
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, to taste
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


    Cook Rigatoni:

  • Boil salted water, cook rigatoni until al dente, drain, and set aside.

Prepare Sausage:

  • Remove sausage from casing, cook in skillet until browned, transfer to plate.

Saute Onion and Garlic:

  • In same skillet, sauté chopped onion until translucent, then add minced garlic and sauté briefly.

Add Crushed Tomatoes:

  • Pour crushed tomatoes into skillet, simmer for 5 minutes.

Incorporate Heavy Cream:

  • Reduce heat, add heavy cream, simmer for 2-3 minutes until slightly thickened.

Combine Sausage and Sauce:

  • Return sausage to skillet, let flavors meld for a few minutes.

Season and Add Pasta:

  • Season sauce with salt and pepper, fold in cooked rigatoni to coat with sauce.


  • Divide among plates, sprinkle torn basil and Parmesan cheese on top.

Overhead shot of a white plate filled with delicious Italian sausage rigatoni. Feel free to refer to the detailed recipe and instructions provided earlier for a more comprehensive guide. Happy cooking!

Nutrition Information



Serving Size


Amount Per Serving Calories 463Total Fat 29gSaturated Fat 13gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 18gCholesterol 66mgSodium 670mgCarbohydrates 30gFiber 2gSugar 4gProtein 20g

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