Rigatoni with Creamy Brandy Tomato Sauce

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rigatoni with a simple, indulgent creamy brandy tomato sauce full of shallots, garlic, and parmesan cheese

servings: 4 (larger portions) – 6 (smaller side dish portions)


  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 shallots, finely minced
  • 8 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • kosher salt
  • ½ cup tomato paste
  • ¼ cup brandy
  • 1 lb rigatoni
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 large sprigs fresh oregano
  • 20 cracks fresh black pepper
  • 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, plus more for topping


  1. Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil.
  2. Meanwhile, heat a 4-6qt dutch oven (or heavy-bottomed pot) over medium heat. Add the olive oil. Once hot, add the shallots and garlic. Cook for about 4-5 minutes until caramelized and tender, stirring often. Season with a good pinch of salt.
  3. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for another minute or so. Pour in the brandy. Simmer for 1-2 minutes.
  4. Drop the rigatoni into the boiling water and stir well. Cook according to the package’s instructions, one minute less than listed.
  5. Stir the cream into the sauce. Add the oregano sprigs and black pepper. Bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 8 minutes until slightly thickened.
  6. Retrieve a ½ cup (plus a little extra on the side if needed) of pasta water right before draining the pasta. Add the water and pasta to the sauce. Stir well to combine. Gradually add in the parmesan cheese, stirring until it melts and the sauce clings to the pasta. (If the sauce is too loose, raise the heat to medium and continue to stir until it thickens. If it’s too thick, add in a little more pasta water.)
  7. Remove the oregano sprigs. Plate the pasta with more parmesan cheese and black pepper cracked over top.