Spicy Sausage Rigatoni

41 reviews / 4.8 average

Whoa-ho-hoaaa. This Spicy Sausage Rigatoni + a smooth glass of Barefoot Rich Red Blend is my newest, bestest friend.

You guysss. We are super-excited to have today’s post sponsored by our wine brand of choice: Barefoot Wine!


Barefoot is and always has been one of my favorite wines, because it’s so super accessible, affordable, and as I’ve only said a million and one times, actually tastes good. Mind: blown. And while I am partial to the Malbec, this lovely, new-to-me Rich Red Blend is a force to be reckoned with: “jammy and rich with lots of black fruit. Sweet vanilla aromas and spicy flavors complement the smooth, lingering finish.” Gosh. Twist my arm.

But the pasta.

I think you know that I do love my vegetables, which is convenient since there are actually two good sources of veggies in this recipe (FOR REAL), but all the good veggie things aside, there are some times when you just need to find a way to get some spicy Italian sausage in your life.

And if that spicy Italian sausage can come in tandem with finely minced golden brown sautéed onions and carrots, red pepper flakes, oregano, and a splash of Barefoot Rich Red Blend all swimming in the magic that is San Marzano tomatoes and served on whole wheat rigatoni with FRESH BASIL RIBBONS (summer, you’re a gem) and Parmesan to infinity and beyond? Well, then, do we even need to keep talking?

Here, take a plate.

Spicy Sausage Rigatoni close up.
Noodles with red pasta sauce.

Oh, and a glass.

Red wine.

Last weekend, while my parents enjoyed a weekend getaway and Bjork and I went back “home” and watched my siblings aka let them do whatever they wanted (just kidding, mom and dad, juuust kidding), we brought Sage with us for a little weekend adventure. This is one of the many perks of being raised in a dog-loving family: bring the dog! give her lots of dog treats! don’t mind the bad breath and mass amounts of shedding!

But the thing is, my parents have two dogs (King Charles Cavalier Spaniels, anyone?) and the boys are basically just two old dog-men who do whatever they want and sleep wherever they want and basically live for the singular goal of naps and hoarding treats.

The boys warmly welcomed Sage into the new pack, and Sage was like, meh. Whatever, guys.

Spicy Sausage Rigatoni in a baking dish.
Spicy Sausage Rigatoni on two plates with red wine.

One night we went to go pick up pizza, because, well, what else? It’s small town Minnesota on a Saturday night. And on the way out the door, in a really weird, poor, brain-off decision making moment, we decided to bring the dogs with for a pizza joy ride. ALL THREE OF THEM. Do I even need to tell you that we had taken the car to get cleaned, um, THAT DAY? No. We’re just that obvious with life.

Everyone had a great time looking out the windows and shedding insane amounts on our freshly cleaned backseat (did I mention that already?) and sniffing at the pizza, except our Baby Princess, our Precious Girl Sage.

I feel like this is the moment where you realize your child is the un-fun, dead-head whiny one who lacks the Have a Good Time gene, but the child is actually a dog, and you somehow still think it’s kind of the cutest, most hilarious thing ever.

Would this be considered slapstick dog humor? We are so there.

Dogs sitting in a car.

Sage is so funny about food – while my parents’  dogs will go wild for annnnnything food-related with a rabid vengeance (including pizza!), Sage turns her nose up. UNLESS.

Unless there is meat, and that includes her new interest – spicy Italian sausage. There have been a handful of meat recipes around this blog lately (steak mac and cheese, for example?), and Sage has taken notice.

It kind of runs in the family – not necessarily the love of meat, but the love of this Spicy Sausage Rigatoni. Bjork was a big big big fan, and me too – probably because this is the kind of meal that reminds both of us of all those yummy, simple, comforting, post-sports-practice meals we had growing up that were best eaten with a simple green salad and a glass of milk. Minnesota born and raised, yo!

You guys. We’re bringing the spice to small town Minnesota! My family, Bjork, me, and Sagey Girl all approve.

Now I’ve filled up a plate for you, so bring me your wine glass and that bottle of Barefoot’s Rich Red Blend and we’ll be all set to let the good meal vibes roll.

Spicy Sausage Rigatoni in a baking dish.
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Spicy Sausage Rigatoni in a serving dish.

Spicy Sausage Rigatoni

  • Author: Pinch of Yum
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 30 mins
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 810 1x


Spicy Sausage Rigatoni – my whole family LOVES this recipe! Real food ingredients like whole wheat rigatoni, San Marzano tomatoes, and red wine.



  • 1 tablespoon oil or butter
  • 12 cloves garlic, minced
  • half of a yellow onion, minced
  • 2 stalks celery, minced
  • 2 carrots, minced
  • 12 ounces spicy Italian sausage (casings removed – just the ground meat)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup Barefoot Rich Red Blend
  • 1 28 ounce can San Marzano tomatoes, including their juice
  • 1/4 cup balsamic or Italian dressing (optional)
  • 1012 ounces rigatoni (whole wheat or regular, about 3/4ths of the box)
  • butter, Parmesan, or fresh herbs for topping


  1. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add the garlic, onion, celery, and carrots – saute for 10 minutes or so, until the vegetables are very soft.
  2. Add the ground sausage, oregano, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. When the sausage is fully cooked, add the wine and let it sizzle out.
  3. Add the tomatoes and optional dressing – simmer for 20-30 minutes so the sauce reduces a bit.
  4. Cook the pasta according to package directions. Add the pasta to the sauce and stir gently to combine. It should be saucy but not runny. Transfer to a large serving dish and top with Parmesan and parsley or basil. Serve with more Barefoot Rich Red Blend!


If your sauce is too runny, either simmer a bit longer or just let it cool down to thicken. I also find that adding a knob of butter or a bit of Parmesan will help it thicken.

You can run the vegetables through a food processor to get them uniformly chopped / minced a bit faster.

  • Category: Dinner
  • Cuisine: Italian

Keywords: spicy sausage rigatoni, sausage rigatoni, spicy rigatoni

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Thank you again to Barefoot for sponsoring this post! And guys. You can thank them by treating yourself to a bottle of their Rich Red Blend. WIN WIN WIN WIN WINNNN.

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  1. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Aw Sage! She’s adorable. I totally get it… I have an older cat and a kitten. The kitten is a little wildling, bouncing off walls and eating everything in sight – including spiders and leaves dragged in on my shoes. What?! But my older cat is like a proper, polite little old lady. She sniffs things delicately and sometimes I swear I can hear her saying please and thank you… plus the kitten often sits on her head, to her dismay. I think my older cat and Sage might be soul sisters…

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      So funny. I seriously think Sage is part cat – she’s such a snuggler, sometimes I feel like I can almost hear her purring.

  2. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I’m with the parents pup – if there is food, I’m automatically in Drool Mode. And if you add wine to the mix, I will be parked right at the table wagging my imaginary tail. Especially this pasta!!

  3. Pinch of Yum Logo

    The recipe looks great, but don’t you think it is a little misleading to show the nutritional stats for this meal serving TEN. There is no way you could serve this as a meal to 10 people, it would be a few tablespoons per person. Great recipe, but there’s no reason to hide that a pasta dinner is more than 300 calories a serving.

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      Hm, I legitimately got 10 servings out of it (I know because I put it into ten lunch containers for the week). And I definitely don’t eat 2 tablespoons of pasta. 🙂

  4. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Haha – Sage sounds like a hoot and a holler! My younger dog will eat anything – even cardboard, but my older dog is picky – no pineapple, no blackberries, carrots – only if they are cut right! Doggie Food Snob is what we call her!
    Btw – How much of this crazy delish rigatoni did she sneak? 🙂

  5. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Hannah Elizabeth

    I laughed so hard, Lindsay, with your description of your parents’ dogs! I have an old 11-year-old Cavi myself, and she is exactly like that! -> “…basically just two old dog-men who do whatever they want and sleep wherever they want and basically live for the singular goal of naps and hoarding treats.” And that picture of Sage was so funny; thanks for sharing!!

  6. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Weirdly, I am just drinking a (rather early) glass of Barefoot Merlot. How coincidental is that?!! It was on special recently at my local Waitrose supermarket, in London, and I have totally fallen for it so bought 6 bottles. It’s so smooth and easy to drink!

    I am a massive foodie (see my blog, Flair Fairy, on my website http://www.angelabuntcreative.com) which contains my favourite recipes. I am a Kiwi but I lived in Italy for 10 years (2 years in Sicily and 8 in Piemonte). This recipe resonates with my Sicilian years (my ex husband is Sicilian) – tomato, garlic, basil based with delicious Sicilian sausage with fennel seeds. Rigatoni is one of my favourite pastas as I like large pasta and a sauce that is not too wet.

    Thank you for sharing this recipe; it made me nostalgic for those years I spent in Sicily where my older son was born and I have some of my best memories.

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      I should have added some fennel seeds here! Love that! And I fell in love with Waitrose products when we were in the Philippines, oddly enough… it was my favorite brand at our local grocery store. 🙂 So glad you love Barefoot, too!

  7. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Erin R.

    Bah ha ha! “I wish your bum wasn’t on my head, King Charles, but I can’t seem to care enough to move.” Bless her heart.

    Also, I love, and I mean LOVE really thick meat sauce on noodles. I’m saving this recipe. Thanks!