Recipe: My Take on Oregano’s Big Rig Pasta
Updated: Oct 14
After posting a picture of this dish the first time, so many people DM’ed me asking for a recipe. I did some research by looking at Oregano’s menu and saw they used a chipotle tomato cream sauce. I took that as a chipotle-vodka sauce, and that’s pretty much the recipe I’m about to share with you! Spicy Vodka Rigatoni recipes have been trending this summer (thanks Gigi Hadid and the OG Jon and Vinny’s). I consider this my contribution to the movement. Let me know if you try it and feel free to make this your own!
** Disclaimer I don’t usually measure my ingredients, I tend to taste as I go and do as I feel so consider this to be a loose recipe!
About 2 tbsp of olive oil
½ of a large white onion
4 + cloves of garlic
1 can of chipotle in Adobo (but you’ll really only use like one or two chipotles from this can)
1 jalapeno (we used two with the seeds and our pasta was pretty spicy)
4-6 oz of tomato paste (I buy canned but tubed works as well)
3 shots of vodka (or about ½ cup) (replace with water + lemon if you can’t get vodka)
1-2 cups of Heavy Cream
At least 1 cup of grated parmesan (more just in case)
Salt and pepper to taste
Red pepper flakes to taste
Rigatoni (or penne)
A cup of the reserved pasta water
If you want to be more accurate to Oregano’s - add diced tomatoes to your sauce or as a garnish. Personally, I don’t find this step necessary.
Here’s what I live by when I cook:
Season as you go to let the flavors develop.
The number of garlic cloves is always a suggestion. I tend to add 1-2 cloves to every recipe.
TASTE YOUR FOOD WHILE YOU’RE COOKING (as long as it’s safe to do so).
Err on the side of caution when it comes to cooking spicy food for others, you can add more, but they can’t add less.
Dice ½ of a white onion
Mince your garlic.
Chop up a few of your chipotles.
Dice your jalapeño. For less spice, remove the white pith and seeds.
Grate your parmesan! Fresh Parmigiano Reggiano is so much tastier than the pre-grated kind.
Wash and chiffonade your basil to use as a garnish.
Step by step:
Get your water boiling for the pasta. Make it salty like the ocean.
Cook the pasta based on the box’s instructions, draining it slightly earlier than necessary and reserving at least a cup of pasta water to use later.
Heat olive oil in a saucepan to medium-high.
Add your diced onions and jalapeno and saute until the onions are slightly translucent. Season with a tiny bit of salt if your heart desires
Add your minced garlic and the diced chipotle, saute 1-2 mins until garlic is fragrant.
Add your tomato paste and mix. The tomato paste will be a bright red to start, and as it’s cooked, it’ll change color and smell. Give it about 3-5 minutes to cook, stirring constantly. When the acidic tomato smell is gone, then you can move onto the next step.
Add in your vodka and keep stirring! Stir, stir, stir until you can’t smell any alcohol! You do not want pasta that tastes like alcohol, I promise.
Add your heavy cream and stir until all combined! The color of your sauce will change to be much lighter. The heavy cream can be replaced with milk substitutes if you want, it just won’t have quite as luxurious of flavor at the end. (I’ve used oat milk before and it worked out)
Add your parmesan! This is when you should taste your sauce. The parm should add as much salt as you need, but you should decide what you like! Want more parm? Add parm! Want to add salt? Do it! This is your pasta.
Once your sauce is to your liking, add in your pasta and a little pasta water to help the sauce cover every delicious bite.
This is where you can also add some butter if you want, for glossiness and extra rich flavor.
Continue adding pasta water and parmesan until it’s perfect to your standards.
Serve it up with the fresh basil, red pepper flakes, and you’ve finished!