Penne alla vodka
Jacqui Wedewer/ The Daily Meal

How to Make a Copycat Carbone’s Spicy Rigatoni Vodka at Home

It’s a signature dish at one of New York’s best Italian restaurants
How to Easily Recreate Carbone's Vodka Sauce
Jason Goldstein of Chop Happy shows us how to recreate Carbone's super popular spicy rigatoni vodka with pantry staples.
Penne alla vodka
Jacqui Wedewer/ The Daily Meal

Carbone in New York’s Greenwich Village is one of the best Italian restaurants around, and it’s renowned for its spot-on renditions of classic Italian-American favorites. One of the stars of its menu is a simple platter of rigatoni coated in a creamy, spicy sauce (called Spicy Rigatoni Vodka on the menu, even though it doesn’t actually contain any vodka), and it can easily be replicated in your kitchen with just a handful of pantry staples.

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New York-based recipe developer, blogger and “Food Network Star” finalist Jason Goldstein has created a copycat version of Carbone’s recipe, and you might already have all the ingredients handy.

Carbone’s recipe traditionally starts with Calabrian chile paste. If you don’t have that available, you can approximate the flavor by cooking one 6-ounce can of tomato paste in a few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. After a couple minutes, add 2 to 3 teaspoons of red chile flakes, depending on how spicy you like it.

Then, add three chopped garlic cloves and let cook for 30 seconds before adding 2 cups of cream. Whisk until all the tomato paste has dissolved and let the sauce continue to cook until slightly thickened, about two minutes. Add 1 pound of cooked rigatoni or penne and stir to combine.

This rich, hearty and comforting dish isn’t just super easy to make with just a handful of ingredients, it also happens to be one of the best pasta dishes you’ll find anywhere.

Copycat Carbone’s Spicy Rigatoni Vodka

1 pound ziti, rigatoni or penne
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
3 tablespoons extra olive oil
2 cups cream
3 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon salt and pepper
2-3 teaspoons red pepper flakes


Cook pasta as directed.
In a pot, add oil and tomato paste to medium heat. Cook and stir for about 2 minutes, then add red pepper flakes and garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
Add cream and whisk to combine. Cook on medium-low for two minutes to thicken.
Add pasta and combine.