Copycat Carbone Spicy Rigatoni
on Nov 18, 2023
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This summer, I had the pleasure of going to Miami to celebrate my best friend’s birthday. It was my first time in the city, and aside from soaking up the sun, and enjoying the beach and festivities, I was extremely excited to hit up some amazing restaurants that have been on my bucket list ✔️. One of them was obviously Carbone, and I couldn’t wait to try their iconic spicy rigatoni!
Yes, the pasta was good, but in my opinion, it didn’t live up to the social media hype. The moment I left, I knew that I’d be able to re-create this dish at home and make it even better! Fast-forward a few months later (and a few trials and errors), and I’m bringing you my better-than-Carbone Spicy Rigatoni 🤤 ! Not only will this plate cost you less than $10 per person, but it’s honestly so easy to make.
Why You’ll Love Copycat Carbone Spicy Rigatoni
Anytime I see a fancy-looking plate of pasta, I am reminded that the secret to delicious Italian cooking lies in using simple yet high-quality ingredients and minimal steps. This dish is a perfect example of that 🤌.
Not only will this dish impress anyone you serve it to, but for less than $10 a person, it’s a budget-friendly alternative to dining out. From the creamy texture to the kick of spice, this copycat Carbone spicy rigatoni lets you enjoy a renowned dish in the comfort of your own home 🏡.
How to Prepare Copycat Carbone Spicy Rigatoni
🧂 In a pot of salted water, start boiling your pasta. Your pasta water should be generously salted as this is your only chance to flavour the pasta. As the pasta boils, start on the sauce.
🌶️ In a large pan, on medium-low heat, add the oil. Once the oil has heated up, add in the finely chopped shallots and cook them until translucent. Stir in the minced garlic and some Calabrian chili pepper paste. Let this delicious, fragrant concoction simmer for one minute.
🥫 Add the tomato paste and cook for two minutes. Then, pour in the vodka and cook it off for a minute or until the alcohol fully evaporates. Finally, add the heavy cream and mix everything together really well. You can now reduce the heat to low.
🧂 When the pasta is al-dente, take some of the starchy pasta cooking water and add it to that creamy, velvety rose sauce. Season with a pinch of salt and, optionally, some pepper.
🧈 To finish everything off, stir some butter and freshly grated parmesan cheese into the sauce. This is also a chance to check the sauce for seasoning and adjust as needed.
🍝 Lastly, fold in the al-dente pasta and enjoy!
Nonna’s Tip 🍝
The outcome of this pasta dish will heavily depend on the type of ingredients you use. Please make sure to use fresh, good-quality ingredients.
Variations and Substitutions
Here are some variations and substitutions to consider for this Copycat Carbone Spicy Rigatoni recipe:
- Feel free to experiment with different pasta variations. Instead of rigatoni, consider using penne, pipette, lumache, spaghetti, fettuccini or even whole-wheat pasta.
- If you’d like to make this recipe gluten-free, try using gluten-free pasta such as lentil pasta, quinoa pasta or chickpea pasta instead.
- Adjust the spice level 🌶️ by increasing or decreasing the amount of Calabrian chili paste you add.
- Don’t have vodka? You can replace the vodka with white wine or leave it out altogether and use a splash of chicken or vegetable broth instead.
- To change up the flavor profile, add in your favorite herbs and spices 🌿. Some suggestions are basil, parsley or oregano.
- Instead of the heavy cream, you can try making cashew cream at home or use coconut cream instead. Please be mindful that the results won’t be the same.
- If you do not have shallots, feel free to use onions 🧅 or even leeks instead.
Yes, you certainly can. The alcohol will cook off completely, but you can absolutely leave it out.
You don’t need to, but it’s highly recommended for the best possible outcome and experience. Purchasing a good quality block of Parmigiano Reggiano will make all the difference in a recipe like this.
You can try making cashew cream at home or use coconut cream instead. Please be mindful that the results won’t be the same.
You can support local Italian Bakeries that carry Parmigiano Reggiano or buy a big block at Costco. Make sure that it has the stamp on the rind and that it’s authentic.
The water should be as salty as the sea, as this is your only chance to flavor the pasta.
You can use any type of short pasta of choice, such as Pipette, Rigatoni, or Lumache.
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This Calabrian chili pepper paste adds such a dimension of flavor to your dishes. It's the perfect level of heat that will elevate any dish.
Copycat Carbone Spicy Rigatoni
- 2 cups pasta (pipette, rigatoni or lumache) , linked here
- 1.5 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 shallot , finely diced
- 3 garlic cloves , minced
- ½ tablespoon Calabrian chili paste, linked here
- ¼ cup Italian tomato paste, good quality
- ¼ cup vodka, one shot
- ½ cup heavy cream, good quality for cooking
- salt, to taste
- ⅓ cup starchy pasta water, or more
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, good quality
- 4 tablespoons
Parmigiano Reggiano, good quality, measure with your heart
- In a pot, start by boiling the pasta. Make sure you generously salt the water with two big pinches of salt. The water should be as salty as the sea, this is your only chance to flavor the pasta.
- As the pasta boils, start on the sauce. In a large pan, on medium-low heat, add the oil.
- Now, let the oil heat up and add in the finely diced shallots. Cook the shallots until translucent. Stir in the minced garlic and Calabrian chili pepper paste, and cook for 1 minute.
- Add the tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes as you stir. Pour in the vodka and cook it off for a minute or until the alcohol evaporates. Add the heavy cream and mix well.
- Reduce the heat to low.
- When the pasta is al-dente, take some of the starchy pasta cooking water and add it into the sauce. Season with a pinch of salt (pepper is optional).
- Stir in the butter, fresh parmesan cheese, and adjust for seasoning.
- Fold in the al-dente pasta and enjoy!
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.