Rigatoni with Yellow Pepper Special Sauce & Spicy Sausage

Written by: Sarah Ubertaccio



Time to read 1 min

I’ve made this dish countless times and it never ceases to impress.

Yellow bell peppers are roasted in the oven until blistered, then blended together with sauteed onions – cooked in flavorful sausage fat – broth, and a dash of cream to form what I call the “special sauce.”

While blending the yellow peppers and onions together does add an extra step to the cooking process, it’s totally worth it. The resulting sauce is smooth and creamy, coating each noodle with a vibrant saffron color and luscious texture. Don’t skip out on roasting the yellow peppers either: the roasting process yields a sweeter tasting sauce, which contrasts wonderfully to the spiciness from the Italian sausage.

Note: you can omit the heavy cream for a lighter, dairy-free dish or simply sub it with a soft, fresh cheese such as ricotta, mascarpone, or cream cheese.

A plate of yellow colored tube pasta with crumbled bits of brown sausage. A light sprinkling of white parmesan cheese is on top.

Yellow Pepper Rigatoni with Spicy Sausage

Prep time


Cook time





3 yellow bell peppers, stems, and seeds removed
1 pound spicy Italian sausage, casing removed
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
¾ cup chicken or vegetable broth
¼ cup heavy cream1 pound rigatoni
Parmigiano Reggiano, grated


Preheat oven to 400°F. Brush a baking sheet lightly with olive oil. Lay peppers on their sides, stems pointing sideways. Roast for 40 minutes, flipping halfway through until soft and blistered. Remove from oven and let cool.

Peel off the skins (they should peel right off). Slice in half and discard the stems and seeds.

Meanwhile, cook the spicy Italian sausage over medium heat, breaking into small bits and browning on all sides. Remove and drain on a paper towel, reserving the sausage oil.

Return pan to low heat and add the finely chopped yellow onion. Cook until soft and translucent, being careful not to brown. Add the peeled and roasted yellow peppers and cook another minute or two until everything is soft.

Remove from heat. Add onion and yellow pepper mixture to an immersion blender or food processor, along with the broth. Blend until smooth and creamy.

Return the sauce to the pan on low heat. Add in cream. Mix until well combined. Keep on low heat, stirring occasionally.
Cook the rigatoni in salted boiling water until al dente. Remove using a slotted spoon and add directly to the sauce.
Add in sausage and mix everything together until well coated. If the sauce is dry, add a bit more pasta water.

Divide into bowls and sprinkle on Parmigiano Reggiano. Serve warm.

Buon appetito!