Spicy Rigatoni al Carbone: A Flavorful Twist on Classic Italian Pasta

Discover the Secret to the Perfectly Spicy Rigatoni al Carbone Recipe!

This Spicy Rigatoni al Carbone Recipe is the perfect combination of rich cream sauce and spicy kick. With a secret ingredient that will leave you wondering what it is (hint: it’s not what you think), this dish is sure to impress even the pickiest eaters.

Spicy Rigatoni al Carbone: A Delicious Taste of Southern Italy

If you’re a fan of spicy Italian pasta dishes, then you’re sure to love Spicy Rigatoni al Carbone. This dish originated in southern Italy and is named after the carbonari, or charcoal workers, who used to make it for lunch using charcoal grills. Today, it’s a popular dish across Italy and the world, known for its bold and spicy flavor.

The key ingredient in Spicy Rigatoni alla Carbone is guanciale – a type of cured pork jowl that’s similar to bacon, but with a richer, meatier flavor. The guanciale is diced and cooked until crispy, then combined with onion, garlic, and Calabrian chile paste for a fiery kick. The tomato purée and heavy cream come together with the pecorino Romano cheese to create a rich and creamy sauce that perfectly coats the rigatoni.

One of the best things about Spicy Rigatoni alla Carbone is that it’s a quick and easy meal to make, perfect for busy weeknights. And the best part? You can customize the spice level to your liking by adjusting the amount of Calabrian chile paste – so whether you like your pasta with a subtle kick or a fiery blast of heat, this dish is sure to satisfy.

Whip up a batch of Spicy Rigatoni alla Carbone tonight and transport yourself to the sunny shores of southern Italy. Buon appetito!

Ask the Chef: Pro Tips for making Spicy Rigatoni al Carbone

Choose the Right Pasta

For this dish, rigatoni is recommended. Its large size and ridges help to hold onto the thick sauce, making each bite more flavorful. You could use other large pasta shapes like penne or ziti, too.

Don’t Overcook the Guanciale

Guanciale adds a rich, salty flavor to the dish, but only if it’s cooked properly. Be careful not to overcook it, or it will become too crispy and lose much of its flavor.

Adjust the Spiciness to Your Liking

Calabrian chile paste can be quite spicy, so taste as you go to adjust for your preferred level of heat. If you’re not a fan of spice, you can omit it entirely.

Use Good-Quality Tomato Puree

Since there are only a few ingredients in this recipe, it’s essential to use good-quality tomato puree to achieve a rich and flavorful sauce. You can use either canned or homemade puree.

Be Sure to Coat the Pasta Well

It’s essential to ensure that the rigatoni is well coated in the sauce. This not only enhances the flavor but also prevents the pasta from sticking together.

Add Cheese Gradually

When adding pecorino Romano cheese to the sauce, be sure to add it gradually, stirring constantly to prevent it from clumping. This step should be done over low heat.

Save Pasta Water

Reserve some pasta cooking water before draining the pasta. Adding it to the sauce helps to loosen and thin it out, making it easier to coat the pasta evenly. Only add it a little bit at a time, until the sauce has reached the desired consistency.

Serve Hot and Fresh

This dish is best served immediately while it’s still hot and fresh. Reheating can cause the pasta to become mushy and lose its texture.

How Many Calories are in Spicy Rigatoni al Carbone?

Nutrition Facts

4 Servings per Recipe

Calories: 625

  • Total Fat: 27g
    • Saturated Fat: 14g
    • Unsaturated Fat: 0g
    • Trans Fat: 0.5g
  • Cholesterol: 80mg
  • Sodium: 630mg
  • Total Carbohydrates: 69g
    • Dietary Fiber: 4g
    • Total Sugars: 6g
    • Added Sugars: 0g
  • Protein: 25g

What Drinks Pair Best with Spicy Rigatoni al Carbone?

Wine pairing: A bold and spicy Italian red wine like Nero d’Avola would pair well with the spicy rigatoni alla carbone recipe. The fruity notes with a hint of spice would complement the dish perfectly.

Beer pairing: A Belgian Dubbel beer, such as Chimay Red, would pair nicely with the spicy rigatoni alla Carbone recipe. The beer’s caramel and dark fruit notes complement the tomato-based sauce while its effervescence helps cut through the richness of the dish.

Cocktail pairing: Pair Spicy Rigatoni alla Carbone with a classic Negroni cocktail for a refreshing palate cleanser between spicy bites.

How to Make Spicy Rigatoni al Carbone

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  • 1 pound rigatoni
  • 1/2 cup guanciale, diced
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon calabrian chile paste, or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups tomato purée
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated pecorino Romano cheese + more for serving
  • 2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh parsley


  1. Cook rigatoni according to package instructions until al dente and drain, reserving 1 cup of pasta cooking water.
  2. In a large skillet, cook guanciale over medium heat until crispy. Add onion and garlic and cook until softened.
  3. Add calabrian chili paste, black pepper, and salt and cook for 1 minute.
  4. Add tomato purée and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Add heavy cream and pecorino Romano cheese and simmer for another 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
  6. Add cooked rigatoni to the sauce along with 1/2 cup of reserved pasta water. Toss until the sauce is evenly distributed and the pasta is well coated.
  7. If the sauce is too thick, add more reserved pasta water, 1/4 cup at a time.
  8. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve hot with extra pecorino Romano cheese on top.