Copycat Carbone’s Spicy Pasta is an easy but flavorful dish to prepare that was inspired by the popular Spicy Rigatoni recipe on Carbone’s restaurant menu. Perfectly cooked pasta is tossed in with a rich and creamy red tomato sauce that is ready to serve in about 15 minutes. For another quick and easy pasta dish, try my Cheeseburger Pasta!

White Bowl of Copycat Carbone's Spicy Pasta with White Napkin and Silverware
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Copycat Carbone’s Spicy Pasta

If you have ever been to New York City, you have probably been told to try to get a reservation at Carbone, a super popular Italian restaurant that is known for its spicy rigatoni pasta dish. The smooth and creamy light red sauce is like a vodka sauce, but like this recipe, there is no vodka in the sauce. If you can’t get a reservation or get to New York anytime soon, make your own spicy pasta!

Overhead View of Copycat Carbone's Spicy Pasta in a Blue Staub Skillet

Copycat Carbone’s Spicy Pasta Recipe

With just a few ingredients, you can have a creamy and hearty pasta dish on the table in less than 20 minutes!

Spoon Stirring Noodles into Spicy Sauce for Copycat Carbone's Spicy Pasta

How to Make Spicy Pasta

To get started making this delicious pasta dish, cook the noodles per package directions. Be sure to reserve a cup of pasta water to add to the dish later. Drain and rinse the noodles and set them aside as you prepare the sauce.

To make the sauce, heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add the garlic and cook for about a minute, or until you smell that wonderful garlic aroma! Add the tomato paste, cream, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Combine and cook these ingredients until they are heated through.

Here is where the reserved pasta water comes in. Add the water a tablespoon at a time until you reach your desired consistency of the sauce. Finally, add the cooked pasta noodles and mix it all together. Garnish with fresh parsley and serve with homemade garlic breadsticks. No one will ever know you didn’t get takeout from the Italian restaurant!

Fork with Copycat Carbone's Spicy Pasta Noodles on it and Big White Bowl in Background

More Pasta Dishes

5 from 8 votes

Copycat Carbone’s Spicy Pasta

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Spicy Pasta is a recipe that was inspired by Carbone's popular Spicy Rigatoni menu item and is as easy to make as it is delicious!


  • 16 ounces cavatappi noodles, cooked according to package instructions
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 teaspoons garlic, minced
  • 1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup pasta water, reserved from cooked pasta
  • fresh parsley, for garnish


  • To get started, you need to make the pasta. Heat a large pot of water to boiling, add the pasta noodles, and cook them according to the package instructions.
  • Be sure to reserve 1 cup of the cooked pasta water before you drain and rinse the noodles. Set the cooked noodles aside until you add them into the sauce.
  • To make the red sauce, you will need a large skillet.
  • Heat up the olive oil in the skillet over medium heat.
  • Add in the garlic and cook that for about a minute.
  • After the garlic has cooked for no more than a minute, add the tomato paste, cream, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Cook these ingredients together until they are heated through.
  • At this point, you may need to add a little of the reserved pasta water to the sauce. Add one tablespoon of water at a time until you reach your desired consistency of the sauce.
  • Finally, pour in the cooked cavatappi noodles and mix everything together until the noodles are coated with the red sauce.
  • Garnish with fresh parsley and serve warm.


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Reader Comments

  1. You say to drain and rinse the noodles. I thought pasta wasn’t supposed to be rinsed after cooking.

  2. 5 stars
    I make this very often, and I add in some ground Italian sausage sometimes, too! Really simple and tasty.

5 from 8 votes (3 ratings without comment)

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