Recipes > Sausage Rigatoni with Sun-dried Tomato Sauce

Sausage Rigatoni With Sun Dried Tomato Sauce


Spicy Italian and mild fennel sausage in a rich sun-dried tomato sauce.
  • Serves: 4 to 8
  • Active Time: 45 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hr 45 mins
  • Views: 45,184
  • Success Rating: 92% (?)
    0% - I fed it to the dog


Step 1: Preparing the Sauce

Preparing the Sauce
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 - 24 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 - 28 oz can whole tomatoes (796 ml / 28 oz)
  • 1 cup sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar


To start, first roughly chop the onion. Peel and finely mince the garlic. Over medium to medium-low heat, cook the onions in the olive oil for a few minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant. Then add the tomato paste and cook another minute or two.

Next, add the crushed tomatoes, whole tomatoes and the sun-dried tomatoes. If the sun-dried tomatoes were packed in oil, be sure to drain them first. Add the pepper, salt, oregano, sugar and balsamic vinegar. Stir well.

Let the tomato sauce come to a gentle boil, stirring often. Cover, turn the heat to low and let simmer for an hour, stirring occasionally.

Step 2: Finishing the Sauce

Finishing the Sauce


Once the tomato sauce has cooked, place a few scoops at a time into a food mill. If your food mill has interchangeable plates, use the plate with medium or large holes.

Step 3: Making the Meat Sauce

Making the Meat Sauce
  • 4 whole fennel sausages
  • 4 whole spicy Italian sausages
  • 1 large white onion
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil


To prepare the sausage meat, first remove it from its casing and break it up a bit. Finely dice the white onion and mince/crush the garlic.

Heat a heavy-bottomed pot over medium to medium-high heat. Add the oil and the ground sausage meat. Stir the meat to break it up. Pan fry the meat until it just starts to turn brown. Once done, strain the meat to remove any excess oil.

Using the same pot, add a bit more oil. Turn the heat down slightly and add the onions. Cook the onions for a minute or two before adding the garlic. Return the sausage meat to the pot and stir. Add the sun-dried tomato sauce (from Step 1) and mix everything together. Bring the sauce to a gentle boil and then turn the heat to low and cover. Let the sauce simmer for 15 to 30 minutes while you cook the pasta. Remember to stir the sauce occasionally, making sure to scrape the bottom of the pot to prevent sticking or scorching.

Step 4: Preparing the Rigatoni

Preparing the Rigatoni
  • 500 g rigatoni pasta
  • 4 tbsp Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 2 tbsp Italian parsley


Bring a large pot of salted water to a rapid boil. Add the rigatoni and stir to prevent them from sticking together. Cook the pasta until it is al dente, approximately 15 to 18 minutes (or according to the directions on the package).

Once the pasta is ready, drain and return to the pot. Drizzle the pasta with a bit of olive oil and top with salt and freshly cracked pepper. Mix gently before folding in the sauce. Serve immediately with freshly-grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and freshly chopped Italian parsley.

Chef's Notes

You can use any pasta noodle for this dish but the rigatoni noodles stand up particularly well against this hearty and scrumptious meat sauce.

This sauce freezes well.


  • Chris Z
    Chris Z
    I made this a few weeks ago and it was amazing, so full of flavor. I don't have a mill so I used a food processor and it turned out great!
  • Denise P
    Denise P
    if i can add fennel should i use dry or fresh?
  • Dawn T
    Dawn T
    Italian deli's are where I most often find fennel sausage. In most areas there are usually a few places that specialize in sausages and meats. I suggest phoning around to your local butcher or an Italian deli to see if they don't sell it or perhaps they might now where you could find it. If in the end you cannot find any fennel sausage, then sure go ahead and add some fennel seeds. For this recipe I would only add about 1 teaspoon or so, to start with. In bocca al lupo! (Good Luck)
  • Terrell N
    Terrell N
    I made this recipe as close as possible as descibed. I did not have a food mill, so I used a a hand puree tool. This is a hearty sauce that has a depth of flavors. I carried some for lunch the next day, and will serve it again over angel hair pasta. Do this recipe; you won't regret it. Terrell
  • Kevin R
    Kevin R
    A great dish. So full of flavour and texture, it's very rewarding. Now all I need is to get a food mill as I'm trying this and many recipies that recommend it. Can anyone suggest a butcher/grocer in Vancouver to get fennel sausage?
  • Dawn T
    Dawn T
    Where to buy fennel sausage in Vancouver? There are a few places that I know of. Santa Barbara on Commercial drive, and a few other Italian delis. But probably the best place to get them is European Meat Market at 540 Victoria Drive, because I believe they are the suppliers to the delis. The gentleman that owns the Butcher is very friendly and the pricing are quite good. Hope that helped, Good Luck!
  • Patrick O
    Patrick O
    This sauce rocked the next day! I’m making it in advance next time. Like most of you, I don't have a food mill but my sundried tomatoes were already julienned and I ran the tomato sauce through the blender. The sauce was very thick so I added about a cup of chicken broth as I didn't have tomato juice on hand. Drank a Chianti Classico along side this and it was fab. A Barbera would be great for those who are more adventurous.
  • Julie S
    Julie S
    I made this dish last night and everybody loved the end result even though I did not have a food mill (I am now going to search for one) and I didn’t have fennel sausages and substituted mild and hot Italian sausages, the recipe still turned out great. I will make this recipe again using fennel sausages, If I can not find good quality fennel sausages I was wondering if any-body had a recipe for home made sausages? I find that it is not always easy to find sausages that are either not too fatty, or salty or (yuck) full of gristle. It would be worth making for this recipe.
  • Liz S
    Liz S
    We enjoyed this meal first time around but I think it was even better tonight using the leftover frozen sauce. We kept repeating how good it tasted! It has a great consistency and real Italian flavour.
  • Daniel R
    Daniel R
    I think I may have made a mistake with the amount of tomato paste (could have sworn that the recipe called for a large can of tomato paste), and used a LOT too much. I could taste the potential of this sauce, but the overpowering concentrated tomato flavor was too much for my taste. Personally I liked the fennel sausage, but my wife/kids didn't really care for it, so next time we'll try sweet. I used cavatapi instead of rigatoni, and everyone really liked that. Overall the grade at our dinner table was 6 out of 10, so even with my mistake it was pretty well received. We'll definitely try this one again.
  • Kristi M
    Kristi M
    This was fantastic!! My Italian husband liked it even more than the spaghetti and meatballs his previous favorite :) I did sub the fennel sausage for spicy chicken sausage because it was what I had. Thank you Rouxbe for definitely elevating my cooking skills!! This site is awesome :)
  • Emma  L
    Emma L
    How much of the large batch of sun dried tomato sauce from the other recipe should I use?
  • Sandy S
    Sandy S
    Hi Emma, In this recipe the sun-dried tomato sauce yields about 5 cups, plus or minus, depending on cooking time and heat level. So, if you are using a ready made sauce, I would start with about 5 cups and adjust as needed or desired. Hope that helps. Cheers, Sandy

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