This truffle rigatoni is incredibly easy to prepare and tastes absolutely amazing. It features rigatoni pasta coated in a rich, creamy sauce that's infused with luxurious truffle flavor.
Fancy enough for special occasions yet simple enough to whip up on a weeknight. A creamy pasta lover's dream come true!
Why you'll love this recipe
- Restaurant-quality flavors at home – and that too for a fraction of the cost!
- Simple and quick prep – it comes together quickly and doesn't require complex cooking techniques.
- Rich and creamy texture – the sauce is luscious and velvety and every bite is comforting + satisfying.
- Customizable – you can adjust the truffle flavor, cheese and/or seasoning to suit your taste.
- Versatile – it's great as a main course. But I like to make it a side dish alongside grilled meats or vegetables.
Here are some helpful notes on ingredients you'll need to make this rigatoni in truffle-infused sauce. See the recipe card below for exact quantities.
- Pasta – I love rigatoni because it holds on to sauces so nicely. Penne would be my second choice, but any pasta shape will do.
- Cooking oil – some olive oil (or any neutral tasting cooking oil) to prevent cooked and drained pasta from clumping together.
- Butter – use unsalted butter to be able to control the salt in the recipe.
- Flour – you'll need all-purpose flour for making the roux. It helps stabilize the sauce, thickens it and adds a little toastiness. For roux, you typically use a 1:1 ratio of butter and flour, but I'm using less flour here. We have creamy and cheesy ingredients that also thicken the sauce.
- Garlic – has to be very finely minced, or the sauce will be grainy (see easy garlic peeling methods here).
- Broth – I prefer unsalted or low sodium broth/stock to control the salt in the dish. Use chicken or vegetable broth. Both work well.
- Heavy/whipping cream – to add richness to the sauce.
- Parmesan cheese – I prefer to grate it myself as it melts better than the pre-grated kind. And tastes so much better. Important to remember: when you grate parmesan, the choice of tools can result in different volumes. I use a microplane, which yields a larger volume of grated cheese. So go by the weight of the cheese, or pack your measuring cup tightly when using a microplane.
- Salt – if using salted ingredients like salted butter or regularly salted broth, cut back on the added salt. Once the dish is ready, do a quick taste test and then add salt if needed.
- Ground black pepper – for some gentle warmth and depth of flavor.
- Truffle oil – white truffle oil is more suitable as a finishing oil for creamy dishes, but I enjoy a more pronounced truffle taste in this dish so I use black truffle oil. You can use other truffle products too instead of the oil (substitution ideas later). When trying a new brand, be sure to use it sparingly. Different brands have different strengths. Start with half the quantity of oil the recipe calls for, taste, and then add more if needed. An overpowering truffle taste will ruin the dish.
- Parsley – a few chopped leaves for garnish. The presentation can use a little pop of green.
How to make rigatoni with truffle cream sauce
Follow these simple, photo-assisted instructions to prepare this saucy pasta dish. Check out recipe card below for a printable version that has quantities, instructions and notes in one place.
Step 1: Cook rigatoni pasta al dente (check the recipe card for pasta tips). Meanwhile melt butter in a skillet on medium-low heat, then add flour and stir for 1 to 2 minutes. Toss in minced garlic and sauté for about 1 minute.
Step 2: Next add chicken or vegetable broth/stock. Mix well and let it cook for a minute.
Step 3: Pour in heavy whipping cream, stir until smooth. Bring to simmer, then reduce the heat to low and let it cook for 3 to 4 minutes until the sauce slightly thickens.
Step 4: Add grated parmesan cheese (keep some aside for garnish), salt and pepper. Stir until the cheese is melted and the sauce gets smooth. Turn off the heat.
Step 5: Mix in truffle oil.
Step 6: Combine the drained, cooked pasta with the truffle cream sauce. Gently mix to coat evenly. If the sauce gets too thick, add a splash of water. Sprinkle some grated parmesan and chopped parsley. Serve immediately.
- Overly soft or mushy pasta: Do not leave the pasta boiling unattended, set a timer, and cook it al dente per package instructions to prevent overcooking.
- Sticky clumpy pasta: As soon as you add pasta to the boiling water, stir it well. Then after draining your cooked pasta, drizzle some olive oil and give it a good toss.
- Lumpy sauce: Don't crank up the heat too high. Stir the sauce almost constantly and use a heat proof whisk for mixing.
- Brown sauce instead of white: Keep things moving quickly and don't let the roux get darker than a deep off-white shade.
- Too thick or too thin sauce: Add water or milk for thinning or simmer a little longer if you like it thicker. Remember, when you add the cooked pasta, the sauce becomes thicker – so don't make it too thick.
- Grainy texture: Use freshly grated parmesan. Not just for better taste, but also because pre-packaged grated cheese contains anti-caking agents that can make the melting a little difficult. Also, mince your garlic very finely.
- Overly truffle-y flavor: Truffle oils come in different strengths. Start with less, you can add more after tasting.
- Browned or burnt garlic: Garlic can burn quickly. Don't sauté it for more than a minute.
- Curdled sauce: Turn the heat down low when adding the cream. Add it gradually and stir constantly. If the curdling has already happened, you can try blending the sauce. But be careful, not all blenders can handle hot food.
- Not enough sauce: Add a little reserved pasta water. If concerned about pasta becoming too salty because of salted pasta water, use regular water instead. But don't add more than a couple tablespoons of water. Check the consistency, then put more if needed.
- Too salty or less salty: Use unsalted butter and low sodium broth. If using regularly salted varieties, reduce the quantity of added salt. Season with more salt after tasting the final dish, only if needed.
- If you don't have broth/stock, you can also use bouillon powder, concentrate or cube dissolved in water. Follow package instructions to make the required quantity of liquid. And don't add any extra salt to the dish until you have tasted the final result.
- You need fresh garlic, garlic powder won't work here.
- You could try vegan-style heavy cream alternatives, but they will change the taste of this dish.
- If you don't have parmesan or want to try something different, grana padano, pecorino romano or asiago can work great as substitutes.
- You can use white truffle oil instead of black but may need a little more of it. Start with less, keep tasting and add gradually.
- The variety of truffle products on the market is huge – truffle salt, butter, carpaccio/slices, paste, mince, zest, oil, etc. You can use some of these as substitutes for truffle oil, depending on what they contain (always read the ingredient label). I would avoid truffle salt as it would make the dish too salty.
- If you have fresh truffle shavings (lucky you), use them as a topping. I'd still recommend using half the quantity of truffle oil in the sauce.
- I prefer parsley for garnish but you can use any herb.
- For a lighter version you can use half-and-half instead of cream. But increase the amount of flour to match the quantity of butter (in tablespoons) when making the roux.
- Mushrooms: Sauté some sliced fresh mushrooms in butter (in a separate pan) until they release moisture and turn golden brown. Then add to the sauce before mixing in the pasta.
- Protein additions: You can add cooked chicken, shrimp or sliced Italian sausage. Season and cook the protein separately, then stir into the sauce with the cooked pasta.
- Dried herbs: Add a little oregano, thyme, basil or even Italian seasoning mix when seasoning the sauce.
- Spice: Add crushed red pepper flakes or cayenne for a little heat.
- Veggies: Steamed or blanched vegetables like broccoli can make this meal well-rounded.
What to serve with truffle rigatoni
- Crusty bread is an excellent choice to mop up that creamy truffle sauce.
- A fresh, crisp salad with a simple vinaigrette can be a refreshing contrast to the rich flavors of the pasta.
- Grilled or roasted vegetables such as asparagus, zucchini or bell peppers pair wonderfully too.
- If you're serving this pasta as a side dish, a protein-rich main like grilled steak, roasted chicken, baked salmon or pan-seared shrimp will make a great combo.
Making ahead, storage and reheating
- Prepping ahead: You can make the sauce up to 2 days in advance and then put it in fridge. When ready to use, reheat in a saucepan over low heat. Stir until warmed through and smooth. You may need to add a little water to bring back the original consistency. Then toss in freshly cooked rigatoni.
- Storage: Transfer leftovers to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Avoid freezing as it changes the texture and consistency.
- Reheating: To reheat a single serving, add a splash of water on top and microwave in 30-second intervals until heated through. Stir between intervals for even heating. For larger portions, reheat in a skillet or pan over low heat. Stir constantly to prevent sticking and add a little water to maintain the moisture. Note: microwaving may turn some of the sauce into oil, so the stovetop method with low heat is better.
Just so you know
- Creamy sauces thicken more as they cool, so serve immediately after mixing the pasta with the truffle cream sauce.
- If you want to buy truffle oil, first check online. You'll find options on sites like Amazon, eBay, Costco and even some gourmet food websites. Always read customer reviews. Some big manufacturers sell directly through their websites. Specialty stores that focus on gourmet or imported items may also have it.
- If cooking for more people than this recipe serves by default, use the "+" sign on the recipe box below to increase the servings. The ingredient quantities will adjust automatically.
- 8 ounces (227 g) rigatoni pasta - uncooked
- 1 teaspoon olive oil - or any cooking oil, to prevent pasta from clumping
- 3 tablespoons (42 g) unsalted butter - (Note A)
- 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
- 2 cloves garlic - large cloves, finely minced
- ½ cup (118 ml) chicken or vegetable broth/stock - low sodium (Note A)
- ¾ cup (237 ml) heavy whipping cream
- ½ cup (50 g) parmesan cheese, freshly grated - press down tightly into the cup to measure (Note B)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon black truffle oil - (Note C)
- some finely chopped parsley - optional, for garnish
- In a large pot, bring salted water to a boil. Cook your rigatoni pasta until it's al dente, following the package instructions (See Note D). Once cooked, drain in a colander. Just before draining, reserve a small amount of pasta water for later. To prevent pasta from sticking together, drizzle olive oil on it and then gently and carefully mix it.
- While the pasta is cooking, melt butter in a skillet over medium-low heat. Once melted, sprinkle in the flour and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Stir constantly. Then add minced garlic to the bubbling mixture and sauté for about a minute – while continuing to stir.
- Next add broth / stock, mix well and let it cook for one minute.
- Pour in the heavy whipping cream and stir until the mixture is smooth. Bring it to a gentle simmer. Then reduce the heat to low and allow to cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until the sauce slightly thickens.
- Add grated parmesan cheese (reserve a small portion for garnish), salt and pepper. Stir until the cheese is completely melted and the sauce turns nice and smooth. Turn the heat off.
- Mix in the truffle oil.
- Combine the drained rigatoni pasta with the truffle cream sauce, gently mixing until well coated. If the sauce becomes too thick, add a splash of reserved pasta water or plain water.
- Sprinkle on that parmesan you saved earlier, plus some fresh chopped parsley. Serve right away.
- Step-by-step photo instructions
- Recipe troubleshooting
- Substitutions and variations (full list)
- Pairing ideas
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