One of my most frustrating traits is my deep, abiding love of carbs. That famous Sophia Loren quip, “Everything you see, I owe to spaghetti!” has nothing to do with me. That is not my relationship with pasta. More pasta means more sweatpants. More pasta means more to love. But, this is something I’ve had to get over. If deciding between delicious, satisfying, and emotionally moving pasta and vanity, pasta seems to always win. As Sophia Loren also said, “I’d much rather eat pasta and drink wine than be a size zero.” Here, here!

This spicy, creamy tomato sauce with chunks of mozzarella melting into rigatoni is perfect for on the couch, or with someone you love and a bottle of chianti. It does all of the things pasta is supposed to do, and it will make you want to reach for a second bowlful. Enjoy!


2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup diced onion

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 teaspoon crushed chili flake

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1 (14.5 ounce) can Italian-style diced tomatoes, undrained

1 carrot, peeled and cut into quarters

1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

2 tablespoons cup heavy cream

2 tablespoons butter

4 ounces mozzarella, cut into 1 inch pieces

Parm, to finish

Finely chopped basil


In a saucepan, saute onion and garlic in olive oil over medium heat. Add the crushed chili flake and paprika. Make sure it doesn’t burn. Add tomatoes, carrots, basil, oregano, salt and pepper. Bring to boil and continue to boil 5 minutes or until most of the liquid evaporates. Remove the carrots. Remove from heat; stir in cream and butter. Reduce heat and simmer 5 more minutes. Add the mozzarella a few minutes before serving to gently melt.

Cook rigatoni al dente per manufacturer’s recommendation, in heavily salted boiling water. Drain, toss in a bowl, and coat with sauce – don’t drown it. Make sure to get some pieces of mozzarella. Finish with basil and parm. Enjoy!