I Made Emeril Lagasse’s Spicy Rigatoni and My Mouth Is on Fire (In the Best Way)

Updated: May 05, 2024

BAM! This easy spicy rigatoni recipe shared via TikTok from Chef Emeril Lagasse will really kick your dinnertime plans up a notch.

If you grew up watching Emeril Live on Food Network, then you (like us) are also probably thrilled to see Emeril Lagasse going viral on Instagram and TikTok. Sharing everything from New Orleans favorites, like Emeril’s jambalaya, to basics like how to make a roux, he’s kicking things up a notch on social media one recipe at a time.

The latest creation that has our mouths watering? This Emeril Lagasse spicy rigatoni recipe.

What’s in Emeril Lagasse’s spicy rigatoni recipe?

Emerils Spicy Rigatoni Lauren Habermehl For TohLauren Habermehl For Taste of Home

Emeril’s spicy pasta (similar to this spicy Louisiana chicken pasta) is not for the faint of heart. This simple Italian dish starts with eight to ten cloves of zesty garlic (add this to the list of recipes for garlic lovers). Then, BAM, it gets hit with plenty of heat thanks to spicy Italian sausage and a spoonful (or two) of chopped Calabrian chiles. Next, aromatics from the onion and celery get folded in. Once the sauce has simmered and the noodles are al dente, the dish is then finished with a shower of grated Parmigiano Reggiano.

How to Make Emeril’s Spicy Rigatoni

Ingredients

Ingredients For Emerils Spicy Rigatoni Lauren Habermehl For TohLauren Habermehl For Taste of Home

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 8-10 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 pound spicy Italian sausage links, casings removed and broken into small pieces
  • 1 large onion, diced (about 2 cups)
  • 3 stalks celery, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 3 cups homemade marinara sauce, or store-bought
  • 1 pound rigatoni pasta
  • 4-6 tablespoons crushed Calabrian chiles, more or less to taste
  • Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, grated

Directions

Step 1: Saute some “gaahlic”

In a large skillet over medium-low heat, add the olive oil and minced garlic. Cook until fragrant, about one to two minutes, then season with salt and pepper.

Editor’s Note: Start with a cold skillet when sauteing garlic. Adding garlic and oil to a hot, preheated skillet often results in burnt garlic. Start cold, and work low to slowly draw out the aroma and flavor of the garlic into the oil.

Step 2: Add the sausage, onions and celery

Mixing Peppers Onions And Meat For Emerils Spicy Rigatoni Lauren Habermehl For TohLauren Habermehl For Taste of Home

Increase the heat to medium-high, add the sausage (here are our favorite Italian sausage brands) and cook until almost fully browned. Add the onions and celery and continue to cook until the sausage is fully cooked and the celery and onions have softened, about five to seven minutes.

Step 3: Make it saucy

Simmer Mixture With Sauce For Emerils Spicy Rigatoni Lauren Habermehl For TohLauren Habermehl For Taste of Home

Pour in the marinara sauce and bring the mixture to a low boil, then reduce to low heat to simmer gently while you cook the pasta.

Step 4: Cook the pasta

While the homemade pasta sauce simmers, cook your rigatoni in a large pot of salted water until al dente. Remove about 1 cup of the pasta water (here’s why you should save pasta water), then drain the pasta and transfer to a clean large skillet over medium heat.

Step 5: Combine and add the spice

Add Noodles For Emerils Spicy Rigatoni Lauren Habermehl For TohLauren Habermehl For Taste of Home

To the skillet with the pasta, add about 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water along with enough sauce to coat the pasta generously, and toss to combine. Finish the pasta by stirring in two to four tablespoons of the chopped Calabrian chiles (adjust the amount to suit your family’s tastes).

Editor’s Tip: In Emeril’s TikTok, he mentions that you may have more sauce than you need. Save any leftover sauce for a later meal. Keep it refrigerated in an airtight container, and the sauce will only get better over time as the flavors marry.

Step 6: Serve

Overhead Emerils Spicy Rigatoni Lauren Habermehl For TohLauren Habermehl For Taste of Home

To serve, divide the pasta between plates and finish with a generous amount of freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano. Enjoy!