This Rigatoni Campagnolo recipe is inspired by a pasta dish from Carrabba’s Italian Grill. It’s loaded with goat cheese, spicy italian sausage, caramelized peppers, onions and garlic. It gets a hint of sweetness from balsamic vinegar and fresh basil. It’s so good!
What is Rigatoni Campagnolo?
Rigatoni Campagnolo is dish from Carrabba's Italian Grill.
It's a tomato-based pasta sauce dish that's loaded with spicy sausage, red peppers, onions, and garlic.
The pasta that is traditionally used is Rigatoni which is also what I recommend. Although it would be delicious with angel hair pasta as well.
The whole dish is topped with lots of goat cheese, parmigiano, and basil.
It's a perfectly spicy, cheesy, and slightly sweet pasta recipe that is so dang good!
You'll love it!
Ingredients & Substitutions
- Rigatoni - This is totally optional - use your favorite pasta shape!
- Spicy Italian Sausage - You could use sweet italian sausage if you're not into heat. You could also use a plant based sausage or just leave it out if you don't eat meat.
- Red Onion - White or yellow onion works just fine, too.
- Red Bell Pepper - Feel free to swap it out for an orange, yellow or green bell peppers.
- Fresh Garlic - Fresh is best but you could use the preminced jarred variety if that's all you have.
- Red Pepper Flakes - If you've read my blog before you know I swear by Flat Iron Pepper Co! It makes such a difference.
- Italian Seasoning - I used Watkins Italian Seasoning because I think it's the best but you can use whatever brand your heart desires.
- Balsamic Vinegar - Balsamic is kind of key to this recipe but you could use red wine to deglaze if you had that instead.
- Balsamic Glaze - This is optional. If you don't have it, you could use 1 teaspoon brown sugar to balance out the acidity in the sauce.
- Crushed Tomatoes - You could use whatever kind of tomatoes you want. Want to make your own sauce with fresh tomatoes? Go for it!
- Parmigiano - Any italian hard cheese (think pecorino, grana padano or regular parmesan) will work!
- Goat Cheese - I like using a goat cheese log but you could def use crumbled goat cheese or feta.
- Basil - Fresh is best!!! Skip it if you dont have any.
How to make it
Making this Carrabba's inspired dish is super easy!
To start, you'll want to cook your pasta al dente according to the directions on the box or bag.
Then when it's time to strain it, make sure to reserve at least 1 cup of pasta water and set it aside.
Next, heat a large, heavy bottomed pan over medium-high heat and add the italian sausage links. Use a spatula to break it up into small crumbles.
Once it’s halfway cooked through, add chopped onions, peppers and a pinch of salt. Stir and cook until the vegetables start to soften - about 5 minutes or so.
Next, add garlic, red pepper flakes, and italian seasoning and cook down for another 2-3 minutes or until the garlic starts to soften and become fragrant.
At this point, you might notice that some of the ingredients are sticking to the pan... which is totally normal! We'll use balsamic vinegar to deglaze it.
Once it's added, use your spatula to scrape up all the brown bits from the bottom of the pan.
Now add in the can of crushed tomatoes and then add ⅓ cup water to the tomato can and swirl it around to get all the remaining tomato juices out then pour it into the sauce.
Let the sauce simmer for 10 minutes then stir in the balsamic glaze.
I do this because it's sort of like we're adding a pinch of sugar to balance out the acidity of the sauce... but this way, we get more of that tasty balsamic flavor.
Now it's time to taste it and season with more salt, pepper, or balsamic glaze if needed.
After that, add the al dente pasta, the parmigiano, and a little pasta water (¼ cup at a time if needed) and stir.
Top with sliced goat cheese and basil before serving!
Can it be made vegetarian?
Rigatoni Campagnolo can absolutely be made vegetarian!
Instead of adding the sausage at the beginning, add 2 tablespoon of olive oil in its place.
I'd also add another pepper to help beef up the sauce!
After that, you'll just follow the recipe exactly as-is and it will be just as delicious.
What goes with Rigatoni Campagnolo?
Save this recipe for later
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You can pin any image on this page or use the pretty ones I made below specifically for your Fall pinterest boards.
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- ½ lb rigatoni cooked al dente
- 4 links spicy italian sausage
- 1 large red onion cut into thin strips
- 1 large red bell pepper cut into thin strips
- 6 cloves garlic thinly sliced
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ½ teaspoon italian seasoning
- 3 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
- 2 tablespoon balsamic glaze
- ½ cup parmigiano grated
- 4 oz goat cheese thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoon basil julienned
- kosher salt & fresh cracked pepper
- Cook pasta al dente according to the directions on the box/bag. When straining, make sure to reserve at least 1 cup of pasta water and set it aside.
- Heat a large, heavy bottomed pan over medium-high heat. Add italian sausage and use a spatula to break it up into small crumbles.
- When it’s halfway cooked through, add onion, peppers and a pinch of salt. Stir and cook until the vegetables start to soften - about 5 minutes.
- Add garlic, red pepper flakes, and italian seasoning and cook down for another 2-3 minutes or until the garlic starts to soften and become fragrant.
- Add balsamic vinegar to deglaze the pan, scraping up all the brown bits from the bottom of the pan.
- Add in the can of crushed tomatoes and then add ⅓ cup water to the tomato can and swirl it around to get all the remaining tomato juices out then pour it into the sauce.
- Let the sauce simmer for 10 minutes then stir in the balsamic glaze.
- Taste and season with more salt, pepper, or balsamic glaze if needed.
- Next, add the al dente pasta, the parmigiano, and a little pasta water (¼ cup at a time if needed) and stir.
- Top with sliced goat cheese and basil before serving.