This simple spicy rigatoni recipe is packed with umami flavor from parmesan cheese, walnuts and anchovies. It’s a favorite “on-the-fly” meal in my house because it relies on pantry staples and comes together in just 15 minutes.
I’m so excited to finally share this one!
I’ve alluded to it several times on social media, but never actually took the time to write down a formal recipe. This is one of those meals I riff on constantly. It’s modified from this spaghetti recipe that I made years ago and have continued to change ever since.
Basically I wanted to make it easier with fewer steps and using mostly pantry staples so I can make it on a whim. It is so simple that it’s almost hard to believe how it can be so flavorful.
Here’s what you need to make it:
Spicy Rigatoni Ingredients
- rigatoni. I just love the way the sauce sort of “fills up” the noodles so you get more in every bite.
- jarred marinara sauce. I like Rao’s Homemade and get it from Costco. I’ve also made this successfully with canned diced tomatoes (drained), cherry tomatoes (roasted), and canned tomato pureé. This recipe essentially “doctors up” the jarred sauce.
- parmesan cheese. Freshly grated is clearly best, but I also sometimes use the pre-grated variety to save time (shhh).
- walnuts. Yes, walnuts! They add fat and richness, with a slight bit of crunchy texture too which I love. Toasting them enhances the flavor even more.
- anchovies. These are optional, but I would highly recommend. The pasta doesn’t taste fishy in the slightest. The anchovies just add a salty umami punch.
- red pepper flakes to bring the heat. This is a “spicy rigatoni” after all.
Even more exciting than the short ingredients list: this sauce comes together in the food processor in about two minutes. While the pasta cooks, you just give everything a whirl until it’s nice and smooth.
Make sure you save some pasta water from the rigatoni because this is the key to bringing it all together so the sauce doesn’t just slide off the noodles. And because garnishes really make your presentation pop: add some extras on top before serving. Finely chopped walnuts, basil chiffonade, red pepper flakes and parmesan cheese.
Keep these ingredients stocked in your pantry and you’ll always have a simple and satisfying meal just 15 minutes away.
You might also like:
- Pizza Stuffed Portabello Mushrooms
- Greek Orzo Salad with Lemon Dijon Dressing
- Tortellini Pasta Salad with Grilled Vegetables and Goat Cheese
This simple spicy rigatoni recipe is packed with umami flavor from parmesan cheese, walnuts and anchovies. It comes together in just 15 minutes!
- Prep Time: 9 minutes
- Cook Time: 11 minutes
- Total Time: 20 minutes
- Yield: 4 servings 1x
- Category: Mains, Entreés, Pasta
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Italian
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
- 8 ounces rigatoni
- 1, 15-ounce jar pasta sauce (I love Rao’s Homemade marinara)
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 4–6 anchovies
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- salt to taste
- garnish: fresh basil (chiffonade)
- Toast walnuts in a small skillet over medium low heat until fragrant (3-5 minutes), stirring occasionally to prevent burning.
- Cook rigatoni per package directions (err on the lower end of cook time, 11-12 minutes)
- Meanwhile, make the sauce. Add pasta sauce, parmesan cheese, toasted walnuts, anchovies, red pepper flakes, and a good pinch of salt to a food processor. Run until smooth.
- Drain pasta reserving some water. Return pasta to the pot, add sauce + about 1/4 cup of the pasta water and toss to coat (it will thicken up a bit as it continues to heat).
- Portion into bowls and top with basil, more red pepper flakes, parmesan, walnuts, black pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.
- The equipment section above includes affiliate links to things I use often in my kitchen and recommend.
- The anchovies are optional if you aren’t a fan.
- Modified from Bon Appetît Magazine
- Serving Size: 1 heaping cup
- Calories: 444 calories
- Fat: 20 grams
- Carbohydrates: 52 grams
- Fiber: 4 grams
- Protein: 15 grams
Keywords: 15 minute meals, pasta, weeknight dinners
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I doubled this (I love how easy you make it to adjust the measurements on your site!) added some chicken and spinach. The sauce is rich and creamy and came together quickly!
Thanks for the rating and review Jackie! Good idea to scale this too, I’m guessing it would freeze well if needed. Cheers!