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rigatoni and vodka sauce with spicy meatballs

Rigatoni with Vodka Sauce and Spicy Sausage

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 3 reviews
  • Author: Nicole Triebe
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 4 1x


  • 1 tbl olive oil
  • 1 LB spicy italian sausage, casings removed
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp italian seasoning
  • handful basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tbl sundried tomato, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 cans (15 oz) tomato sauce
  • 1 can (15 oz) stewed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup vodka
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 LB rigatoni
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • Basil to garnish
  • salt and pepper


Remove casings from sausage, and roll pieces of sausage into quarter size balls. Bring a large pot of water to boil for the pasta. In a large saute pan over medium heat oil. Add sausage meatballs and brown, 3 to 4 minutes.

Add onions and garlic and saute until softened, about 5 minutes. Add sun dried tomatoes, Italian seasoning, basil, bay leaf, red pepper, salt and pepper, to taste, and cook 3 minutes more. Deglaze the pan with white wine and cook for 3 minutes. Then add tomato sauce and stewed tomatoes.

Bring to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes.

Salt the pasta water and add the penne. Cook until al dente, about 12 minutes.

Add vodka, cream and cheese and cook another 10 minutes.

After the pasta is cooked, reserve a cup of pasta water and set aside.  Drain the pasta it and add to the sauce. Toss in basil leaves and mix until pasta is coated.