Rigatoni Campagnolo, better yet, Rigatoni Alla Campagnola, or country-style rigatoni, is a so-called Italian dish that has a very old origin in Italy. But it has changed so much over the years, with a deep influence from the United States. As with many other Italian dishes, rigatoni campagnolo must have been brought to America by an Italian emigrant at the beginning of the past century. Today, it’s one of the most popular dishes on the menu at Carrabba’s Italian Grill.

The name of the dish refers probably to the traditional ingredients used, which were very common in the countryside of Italy and in particular the south or south/center, such as Campania, Sicily, or even Abruzzo. Those ingredients are fresh fennel sausages, tomato sauce, and bell peppers.

Country-Style Rigatoni (Rigatoni Campagnolo) Article

The use of tomato sauce is a very strong indicator that the dish might have origins in the south rather than the north. Tomatoes are used everywhere nowadays, but back in the past, it was common to use what was produced near you in daily cooking. Large fields of tomatoes were present in 90 percent of the southern part of the country, for sure.

The type of sausage found in the recipe – fennel pork fresh sausage – is definitely more commonly found in the center and in the southeast of Italy rather than the north, where sausages were mostly dry and made with other spices.

In this rigatoni campagnolo recipe, I tried to make a faster, lighter, and healthier version. The first thing we substitute is the tomato sauce with a white wine sauce. We do not use fresh cream or extra fat for the sauce. Instead, we will get a nice tangy sauce just with the acidity from the white wine and the fat from the sausages, which is enough.

The ultimate ingredient to use if possible is a dry sweet pepper, such as the peperone crusco, which is typical in the towns of Basilicata, or a Spanish Pimenton. However, any sweet dry pepper will work with this recipe.

This recipe is the version of Rigatoni Alla Campagnola that my mother used to make. To be honest, I’ve never eaten this dish outside of my family’s house and haven’t seen it anywhere around the country. That’s why I think it deserves to be written and shared with the Mediterranean Living family. By the way, if you like this, try our rigatoni bolognese recipe next.


  • You can use any kind of sausage in this recipe, like spicy Italian sausage or turkey sausage.
  • Instead of butter, use extra virgin olive oil.
  • You can also substitute pecorino romano cheese for caprino or goat cheese, which is the more traditional option. Just add a slice on top of the hot pasta and once it begins to melt, stir it into the pasta.
  • If you can’t get your hands on dried sweet peppers, you can simply swap them for red bell peppers. If you choose this option, saute the chopped red bell pepper along with the onion and carrot. 
  • You can add a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes when you cook the sausage if you want some heat.
  • Another easy way to add more flavor is to saute the onion with a couple of minced garlic cloves.
  • While rigatoni is the classic pasta to use in this recipe, the campagnolo sauce truly works with any type of pasta, including penne and angel hair pasta.


What is campagnolo sauce?

Campagnolo sauce is traditionally a tomato-based sauce with sausage, chopped onion, and peppers. However, in this recipe, I’m using a white wine-based sauce instead.

How do you store rigatoni campagnolo?

Store pasta leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to four days. Reheat either on the stovetop or in the microwave. You can also freeze leftovers for up to three months. Thaw them overnight in the fridge before reheating them as instructed.

Country-Style Rigatoni (Rigatoni Campagnolo) Article

Country-Style Rigatoni (Rigatoni Campagnolo)

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Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4
Calories 572 kcal


  • 1 to 2 tsp salt
  • 8 ounces white onions, thinly sliced, such as on a mandoline
  • tbsp unsalted butter
  • 7 ounces carrots, chopped into small pieces
  • 4 ounces fresh Italian sausage, preferably with fennel seeds, chopped
  • 4 ounces dry white wine
  • 8 ounces rigatoni pasta
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil for frying
  • 2 peperone crusco or dried sweet chili peppers
  • ½ tsp crushed black pepper, optional
  • ½ cup grated pecorino cheese, plus more for serving, optional
  • Fresh basil leaves, optional


  • Sprinkle the salt over the onion in a small bowl and set it aside.
  • Start the sauce by melting the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and carrots and cook them, stirring, for 5 minutes. Add the sausage and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes, until the meat starts to stick to the bottom of the pan. Pour in the wine and scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden or silicone spoon to deglaze it. When the alcohol in the wine has evaporated (you won’t smell it anymore), in 2 to 3 minutes, cover the pan, and reduce the heat to low. Cook the mixture for 20 minutes or until the wine is reduced to a sauce and the onion is so soft it is well combined with the cooked sausage.
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, then add the pasta. Cook it as the package directs to al dente.
  • While the water is boiling, heat vegetable oil in a saucepan on high heat. Fry the dried peppers for 20 to 30 seconds. Do not let the peppers burn or turn black.
  • When the pasta is cooked al dente, drain it and add it to the pan with the sauce. Stir the pasta and sauce together over low heat. Add the black pepper and pecorino, and stir them in for 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Divide the pasta and sauce between two bowls and top each with a fried pepper, additional pecorino cheese, and basil, if using.


Calories: 572kcalCarbohydrates: 54gProtein: 17gFat: 30gSaturated Fat: 13gPolyunsaturated Fat: 6gMonounsaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0.4gCholesterol: 61mgSodium: 982mgPotassium: 478mgFiber: 4gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 8713IUVitamin C: 8mgCalcium: 185mgIron: 2mg
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