This creamy one pot rigatoni recipe is a family favorite, made with Italian sausage, diced tomatoes, marinara, spices, parmesan, and cream.
The uncooked rigatoni pasta is cooked al dente in a delicious meat sauce, made with Italian sausage, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, chicken broth, and spices. Heavy cream is added toward the end to create a creamy and comforting sauce.
The whole thing is topped with Parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes for a delicious meal. With basic ingredients and easy cleanup, this recipe makes dinner time stress-free and perfect for busy weeknights.
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Want more one-pot pasta recipes? Try this Instant Pot cheeseburger macaroni.
- Simple ingredients: Basic ingredients and pantry staples
- One pot meal: Fewer dishes and faster cleanup for an easy weeknight dinner.
- Quick recipe: This is a 30-minute meal.
- Olive oil: Used to sauté the garlic and Italian sausage, adding flavor to the dish.
- Sweet Italian sausage: Sweet, mild, or hot Italian sausage. You can usually find sweet ground Italian sausage, but if you can only find the kind that comes in casings, you simply remove the casing with a knife.
- Garlic cloves: Minced.
- Italian seasoning: A blend of herbs, including basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme, and sage.
- Red pepper flakes: Adds a very small amount of heat and spiciness to the dish.
- Tomato paste: Concentrated tomato flavor that helps thicken and intensify the tomato sauce.
- Diced tomatoes: Canned tomatoes in juice. They add texture and flavor to the sauce. You can also use petite diced tomatoes for a less chunky sauce.
- Marinara sauce: A simple tomato-based pasta sauce.
- Chicken broth: Or vegetable or beef broth.
- Rigatoni: A tube-shaped pasta that is perfect for holding onto the delicious meat sauce.
- Heavy cream: A high-fat dairy product that adds richness and creaminess to the dish.
- Parmesan: Shredded or grated will work.
- Salt and pepper: To taste.
- Fresh basil: Optional herb that adds a fresh and aromatic flavor to the dish.
See the recipe card for quantities.
Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.
Add the Italian sausage and cook, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until browned and cooked through, about 5-7 minutes.
To the pot, add the garlic, Italian seasoning, and red pepper flakes and cook for 1-2 minutes, until fragrant.
Next, add the tomato paste and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly.
Add the rigatoni, diced tomatoes (do not drain), marinara sauce, and chicken broth.
Stir to combine and bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat. Cover with a lid and cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring every few minutes, until the pasta is cooked al dente and the sauce has reduced and thickened.
Tip: Stirring frequently will ensure the pasta does not stick together or stick to the bottom of the pot. Covering the pot with a lid in between stirring helps the noodles on top cook with the steam.
When the pasta is cooked, remove the pot from the heat. Stir in the heavy cream and parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Garnish with fresh basil, optional. Serve warm.
- Sweet Italian sausage: Mild or hot Italian sausage will also work very well in this recipe. Ground beef or ground turkey are great substitutes for Italian sausage, but really any ground meat or meatless crumbles will do the trick.
- Rigatoni pasta: Any short pasta cuts are great for this dish, including penne, ziti, or elbow macaroni.
- Heavy cream: Half-and-half or whole milk are perfect for this dish. Skim milk will not be as creamy but will work in a pinch. Alternatively, you can add 4 ounces of softened cream cheese or Boursin.
- Chicken broth: Vegetable broth, beef broth, or water are good substitutes. If using water, you may wish to add more salt to taste at the end.
- Marinara sauce: Homemade marinara or any store-bought pasta sauce will do the trick.
- Parmesan cheese: Pecorino Romano or Asiago cheese are excellent parmesan substitutes.
- Vegetarian: Omit the Italian sausage and use meatless crumbles and vegetable broth instead of chicken broth. Sometimes parmesan is not vegetarian, so be sure to read product labels.
- Spicy: Add more red pepper flakes or use spicy Italian sausage.
- Whole grain: Use whole wheat rigatoni pasta or other whole grain pasta shapes. Whole-grain pasta may take longer to cook. If so, add a little extra broth so there is plenty of liquid.
- Gluten-free: Use gluten-free rigatoni pasta and make sure all other ingredients are gluten-free.
- Veggies: Add more veggies like onions, bell pepper, or baby spinach.
- Large pot - I recommend a large nonstick pot.
- Spatula - For browning the meat.
- Wooden spoon - After the meat is browned, switch to a wooden spoon to avoid cross-contamination.
Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To reheat, microwave or heat in a saucepan over low heat until heated through.
For longer storage, you can freeze the pasta in a freezer bag for up to 3 months.
Rigatoni pasta pairs well with a variety of sauces, including tomato-based sauces, cream-based sauces, and meat-based sauces.
Penne is a thinner, narrower tube-shaped pasta that has slanted edges, making it a great choice for creamy sauces, such as Alfredo or vodka sauce. Rigatoni, on the other hand, is a wider, more cylindrical tube-shaped pasta with ridges along the outside. The ridges help the pasta hold onto thicker, chunkier sauces like a hearty meat sauce.
Creamy One Pot Rigatoni
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pound sweet Italian sausage casings removed
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ¼ cup tomato paste
- 1 pound rigatoni pasta uncooked
- 1 can (28 oz) diced tomatoes
- 1 jar (24 oz) marinara sauce
- 2 cups chicken broth
- ½ cup heavy cream
- ½ cup shredded parmesan cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Fresh basil chopped (optional)
- Heat the olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the Italian sausage and cook, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until browned and cooked through, about 5-7 minutes.
- Add the garlic, Italian seasoning, and red pepper flakes and cook for 1-2 minutes, until fragrant.
- Add the tomato paste and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly.
- Add the rigatoni, diced tomatoes (do not drain), marinara sauce, and chicken broth. Stir to combine and bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat. Cover with a lid and cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring every few minutes, until the pasta is cooked al dente and the sauce has reduced and thickened.
- When the pasta is cooked, remove the pot from the heat. Stir in the heavy cream and parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Garnish with fresh basil, optional. Serve warm.
- Sausages that contain ground beef, pork, lamb, or veal should be cooked to 160°F (71.1°C).
- Sausages that contain ground turkey and chicken should be cooked to 165°F (73.9°C).
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat.
- Wash hands after touching raw meat.
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods.
- Never leave cooking food unattended.