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How Chef Joe Isidori Ratchets up His Rigatoni alla Vodka

Appetito's contributor Morgan Hines can't forget the signature dish at NYC hotspot Arthur & Sons, so she gets the inside scoop and recipe from owner/chef Joe Isidori.

9:00 AM EDT on July 5, 2023

Chef/Owner Joe Isidori of Arthur & Sons plating his Spicy Rigatoni alla Vodka.

When I visited Arthur & Sons for the first time in May, the West Village red sauce joint blew me away. And ever since, one dish in particular has been on my mind: Spicy Rigatoni alla Vodka.

The dish served at Arthur & Sons is recognized as among some of the best in the city (and not just by me!). 

I’ve had other variations I’ve loved elsewhere, too — Carbone and Parm, for example, make an excellent rigatoni served in a spicy vodka sauce. But the version on the Arthur & Sons’ menu by owner Chef Joe Isidori tastes a little different.

Isidori, a third-generation chef from a family that has run restaurants in NYC since 1954, tells Appetito that the classic dish has been reworked for a more contemporary diner with smoked speck, chili, and extra-large rigatoni noodles.

“We use double concentrated tomato paste, smoked speck, and high-quality Calabrian chili to give our spicy rigatoni added flavor and a kick,” Isidori says. “Traditionally, people will use prosciutto and chili flakes, but we wanted to give our spicy rigatoni a modern flair without straying too far from tradition.”

And his iteration of the dish has been in the works for some time.

“I’ve been making rigatoni alla vodka as long as I remember,” he says, noting that when he was growing up, he would find ways to make his rigatoni alla vodka extra spicy. 

“As a kid, I’d add chipotle adobo instead of chili for extra heat,” he says.

Isidori shares the recipe for his restaurant’s popular dish with Appetito, in case you want to give it a whirl at home. Feel free to make it as spicy as you wish!

Spicy Rigatoni alla Vodka

Spicy Rigatoni alla Vodka

5 from 1 vote
Recipe by Joe Isidori


Prep time


Cooking time




  • 16 oz 16 rigatoni (Bronze Cut)

  • 5 tablespoons 5 double concentrated tomato paste

  • 3 cups 3 heavy cream

  • 1 1 shallot, sliced

  • 8 cloves 8 garlic, sliced

  • 1 tablespoon 1 Calabrian chili paste

  • 1/4 cup 1/4 chopped speck or prosciutto

  • 1/4 cup 1/4 Extra Virgin Olive Oil

  • 1 cup 1 grated Pecorino Romano cheese

  • 1/2 cup 1/2 vodka

  • 1 1 chunk of Parmigiano Reggiano for shaving

  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • In a pan, sauté the shallot, garlic and speck or prosciutto with Extra Virgin Olive Oil, salt and pepper until slightly brown.
  • Add tomato paste and chili paste, cook until combined and slightly caramelized.
  • Carefully deglaze the pan with vodka and then add heavy cream.
  • Slightly reduce the sauce and add cooked rigatoni (use pasta water to adjust the sauce if a bit too thick).
  • Toss all with Pecorino Romano cheese and plate.
  • Shave fresh Parmigiano Reggiano with a microplane over the top.
  • Enjoy!

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