Sausage Rigatoni alla Zozzona.

Sausage Rigatoni alla Zozzona Recipe from Rome.

Sausage rigatoni alla Zozzona is a traditional pasta recipe from Rome that Romans make to use up leftovers of typical local ingredients. It’s easy to put together and substantial enough to be a meal on its own.

sausage rigatoni alla zozzona

Rigatoni alla Zozzona.

The traditional cuisine in Rome and the rest of Lazio is filling and hearty. It’s based on ingredients produced in the surrounding countryside and the popular belief that servings needs to be abundant to feed a population that once worked in the fields!

sausage rigatoni alla zozzona

Pasta is a mainstay of the Roman diet and there are many well-known pasta recipes from this part of Italy. Spaghetti alla Carbonara, Amatriciana and Cacio e Pepe have all gained immense popularity throughout Italy and abroad.  Although, as we know, many overseas versions of carbonara aren’t quite the same as the authentic Italian recipe!

ingredients for rigatoni alla zozzona on white plate

There are also a lot of typical Roman pasta recipes that aren’t as well-known outside of Italy. But, they are just as delicious as those mentioned above. Pasta alla Gricia, which is like Amatriciana without tomatoes, and creamy pasta alla Papalina with ham are two that come to mind (links below). This sausage rigatoni alla Zozzona falls into this second category.  

guanciale, sausage meat and onions chopped and prepared and egg yolks and passata all in white bowls

What’s in sausage rigatoni alla Zozzona?

Like other pasta recipes from Lazio, rigatoni alla Zozzona is a filling and hearty recipe and made with frequently used typical ingredients. In this case, guanciale, tomatoes, eggs, Pecorino and sausage. In fact, many of Rome’s favourite pasta recipes make use of the same ingredients.

sausage meat, onions and guanciale cooking in skillet

Guanciale (pork cheek) or, if not available, pancetta goes into Carbonara and Amatriciana. Raw eggs are mixed into the dish before serving in Carbonara and alla Papalina.  And, pecorino Romano is the cheese of choice for the majority of Lazio pasta recipes, especially cacio e pepe!

tomato passata added to skillet with sausage, guanciale and onion

The only ingredient in pasta alla Zozzona that doesn’t appear in the other classic Roman recipes I have mentioned is sausage. However, almost every Italian region makes use of pork sausage in pasta sauces and Lazio is no exception.

alla zozzona sauce ready in skillet

What does Zozzona mean?

In Rome,  the term ‘zozzo’ in the context of food refers to something particularly rich, substantial, fatty, succulent and above all calorific. So, this is not a light plate of pasta. But, it is definitely a flavourful winner for those who like hearty dishes! For Italians, it’s also a recipe that can be thrown together with ingredients that most have in their fridge, freezer or larder. It is often made to use up leftovers of those ingredients.

beaten egg yolks and grated pecorino in white bowl

Where to eat sausage rigatoni alla Zozzona in Rome.

If you visit Rome, you are unlikely to find sausage rigatoni alla zozzona in fancy restaurants. However, you will find it in the traditional trattorias of Trastevere or, even better, the fraschette taverns in the Castelli Romani area. The Castelli Romani is an area outside of Rome that incorporates 17 towns including Frascati, which is where many believe the origin of the name of these typical taverns comes from.

Rigatoni from pasta maker Giuseppe Cocco

Fraschette were originally places where people went to try new wines. They didn’t have kitchens, but served the wine with just bread and maybe cheese. Sometimes customers brought their own food with them and only asked for wine. Over time, stands selling food began to appear in front of the fraschette.

cooked rigatoni added to skillet with alla zozzona sauce

Nowadays, fraschette are more like normal restaurants but they serve mostly traditional Roman fare including porchetta, a typical local roasted pork, and pasta dishes like this sausage rigatoni alla zozzona. However, there’s also a restaurant in the centre of Rome called Lo Zozzone that specializes in this dish!

rigatoni and sauce in white bowl with added beaten egg yolks and pecorino

What pasta should you use?

As you can imagine from the name, pasta alla zozzona is traditionally made with rigatoni, a favourite type of pasta in Rome. I used large rigatoni from a company in Abruzzo called Giuseppe Cocco. This was actually only the second time I have used their pasta. But, it won’t be the last. I really really like this pasta. It’s bronze extruded and made with natural spring water. Sadly, it’s not easy to find where I live. In fact, I bought mine when I was passing through Abruzzo last year. But, I know this company exports to US and US readers can buy it online from  https://www.supermarketitaly.com/ . I’m not sure where else they export to.

sausage rigatoni alla zozzona in white bowl ready to serve

If you don’t have rigatoni; then another largish pasta tube such as tortiglioni or pennoni or even smaller penne, fusilli, sedani, mezze maniche or elicoidale would work well too. There are SO many types of Italian pasta tubes to choose from!

sausage rigatoni alla zozzona

The other ingredients you need for sausage rigatoni alla Zozzona.

As I mentioned above, this sausage pasta recipe is made with guanciale (pork cheek).  But, you can make it with pancetta. The other ingredients are Italian pork sausages, egg yolks,  grated Pecorino Romano, sauce tomatoes or tomato passata and an onion. Some versions I came across in my research didn’t include onion, but I did. I also found recipes that included a little milk when mixing the egg yolks with the Pecorino. I made this dish without milk.

sausage pasta alla zozzona

For the sausages, I would suggest very simple pork sausages made without added herbs or spices except salt and pepper. Italian sausages with fennel would change the taste of the finished dish. But, I think those with rosemary would be very good too.

A great weeknight family meal.

This sausage rigatoni alla Zozzona is a great family meal weeknight recipe. Plus, it doesn’t take long to put together. In fact, the sauce can be ready in the time it takes you to boil the water and cook the pasta!

Pin for later.

sausage rigatoni alla zozzona

If you do try this sausage pasta recipe, I’d love to hear what you think. Please write a comment here on the blog or post a comment on the Pasta Project Facebook page.

Your feedback means a lot to me!

Buon Appetito!

Other traditional Roman pasta recipes to try.

  1. Pasta alla Papalina with ham, peas and cream
  2. Pasta alla Gricia with guanciale
  3. Bucatini all’Amatriciana
  4. Spaghetti alla Carbonara
  5. Cacio e Pepe with pecorino and pepper
5 from 22 votes
sausage pasta alla zozzona
Sausage Rigatoni alla Zozzona
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
 

This sausage rigatoni alla Zozzona from Rome is a great family weeknight meal recipe. It's hearty and filling and easy to make.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Central Italy, Italian, Mediterranean, Rome & Lazio
Keyword: authentic Italian pasta recipe, Italian sausage, rigatoni, Roman cuisine, sausage pasta
Servings: 4
Calories: 756 kcal
Author: Jacqueline De Bono
Ingredients
  • 320 g rigatoni (12oz) or other type of pasta tube
  • 2-3 Italian pork sausages skins removed
  • 200 g pork cheek (guanciale) (7oz) or pancetta cut into cubes
  • 450 g tomato passata (1lb) or peeled tomatoes
  • 1 onion peeled and finely chopped
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 100 g Pecorino Romano (3.5oz)
  • salt for pasta and taste
  • ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Peel and chop the onion finely. Remove the sausage meat from the skin and chop or break into small pieces. Cut the guanciale or pancetta into small cubes or lardons. If using fresh tomatoes, blanch them in boiling water, peel and cut into quarters.

  2. Fry the onion in olive oil until it starts to become translucent. Then add the sausage meat and the guanciale/pancetta. When the guanciale and sausage has started to brown add the tomatoes/tomato passata. Simmer for 10-15 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

  3. While the sauce is cooking boil the water for the pasta. Add salt once it starts to boil and bring to the boil again. Cook the pasta al dente according to the instructions on the packet.  When the pasta is ready, save a little of the cooking water and drain.

  4. Beat the egg yolk with a fork and add pepper and a couple of tablespoons of pecorino, mix well.

  5. Add the pasta to the pan with the sauce and sauté for a couple of minutes. Remove the pan from the heat or move the pasta and sauce to a serving bowl and add the egg yolks and cheese. Mix everything together well. Serve immediately with some more Pecorino and black pepper as required.

Recipe Notes

It’s important to add the egg yolks and cheese OFF THE HEAT, otherwise the eggs will scramble. Mix everything together well immediately and serve. Leftovers are delicious baked with some slices of mozzarella on top.This recipe is traditionally made with rigatoni but you can use other types of pasta tubes such as large or small penne, tortiglioni, fusilli etc

 

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43 Comments

  • Avatar
    Ann Ann Ireland
    April 1, 2020 11:21 am

    Great recipe

  • Avatar
    Ramona
    March 31, 2020 10:46 pm

    Another great recipe that will need to make super fast. It sounds and looks soooo good! This will be on the table before the end of the week – I have all ingredients and some really keen pasta lovers here that would love me forever for making this.

  • Avatar
    Aline
    March 31, 2020 12:53 am

    We love your recipes and stories – thank you for such great cultural space made even better by all the deliciousness you share!! This is going on the list of recipes to try next!! Can’t wait!! Grazie!!

  • Avatar
    Kacey Perez
    March 30, 2020 6:46 pm

    This pasta recipe looks like just what my family needs this week! We are getting more snow and this comforting recipe should do just the trick for dinner!

  • Avatar
    Kacey Perez
    March 30, 2020 2:19 pm

    This looks seriously good! Comforting and delicious – perfect for the family this week!

  • Avatar
    Sondra Barker
    March 29, 2020 6:10 am

    This looks so delicious! I definitely need to try this pasta recipe out!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      March 30, 2020 5:54 am

      It is a perfect meal for a weeknight or any time actually!

  • Avatar
    Marisa F. Stewart
    March 28, 2020 6:55 pm

    We love the taste of pork in our sauce — it does add a richness to the finished sugo. We make our own rigatoni and it is well worth the effort. This is the next recipe I’m making this week.

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      March 30, 2020 5:54 am

      That sounds perfect, Marisa, and you are so right about pork!

  • Avatar
    Leslie
    March 28, 2020 6:07 pm

    What’s NOT to love about this!?! Pure heaven! I’m loving the bigger noodles used in this recipe as well! Delish!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      March 30, 2020 5:56 am

      Exactly, Leslie! I love how hearty this dish is!

  • Avatar
    Elaine
    March 28, 2020 5:59 pm

    Fantastic rigatoni recipe. I tried a few recipes before but none of them was as good as this one. The steps are easy to follow and the result is amazing. Great sausage suggestion, too.

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      March 30, 2020 5:56 am

      Thank you, Elaine! I hope it becomes a regular feature on your menu!

  • Avatar
    Kari Heron Morrison
    March 28, 2020 4:31 pm

    THIS is definitely going to be a huge hit with my little man! That sauce is absolutely everything!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      March 30, 2020 6:00 am

      Thank you, Kari! It is such a great recipe, and I certainly hope that your little man loves it too!

  • Avatar
    Danielle
    March 28, 2020 4:06 pm

    I was just thinking what to make with all the sausage that I had. Glad I’ve stumbled upon this recipe – it makes it really easy to make something as delicious as this rigatoni.

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      March 30, 2020 6:00 am

      It is perfect for that Danielle!

  • Avatar
    Jere Cassidy
    March 27, 2020 10:29 pm

    That is interesting you add the egg at the end of cooking and mixing, I have never seen this before, so I need to give this a try.

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      March 30, 2020 6:02 am

      Adding the egg at the end stops it from scrambling, instead you get the lovely cheesiness!

  • Avatar
    Tammy
    March 27, 2020 8:07 pm

    I love the mix of pancetta and sausage in the sauce for extra flavor depth. This looks and sounds wonderful!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      March 30, 2020 6:03 am

      Thank you, Tammy. It is really delicious!

  • Avatar
    Marta
    March 26, 2020 8:34 pm

    I love that this is an easy meal to make for the weeknights. Thank you!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      March 30, 2020 6:03 am

      It is perfect for week nights! Quick, easy and delicious is always a winner!

  • Avatar
    Amy Liu Dong
    March 26, 2020 11:13 am

    Oh my goodness, this pasta recipe look so delicious and I love how easy to do this dish. Thank you!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      March 30, 2020 6:08 am

      Thank you, Amy. Simple is often the best!

  • Avatar
    Kelly Anthony
    March 25, 2020 10:40 pm

    Pasta always sounds good for dinner. I’m adding this sausage rigatoni alla zozzona to my menu for next week.

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      March 30, 2020 6:21 am

      Pasta is great any time! Le me know if you try it and love it!

  • Avatar
    Stine Mari
    March 25, 2020 8:45 pm

    I realize now why I found this recipe particularly mouthwatering when you said what zozzo means!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      March 30, 2020 6:25 am

      It will certainly leave you satisfied, and of course all the best things are a little bit naughty!

  • Avatar
    Heidy
    March 24, 2020 12:35 pm

    I love coming to your blog for pasta recipes! They are always delicious tasting and most of all my mother doesn’t say a peep! She loves your food. I can not wait to try another wonderful recipe such as this one.

    Be safe

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      March 30, 2020 6:26 am

      Thank you, Heidy! I am so glad to hear that the recipes are a hit!

  • Avatar
    Ravin kumar
    March 24, 2020 8:23 am

    These are so amazing — such a creative idea! The look sounds delicious

  • Avatar
    Kay
    March 23, 2020 9:34 pm

    Brilliant, just what I needed, I have limited supply of ingredients right now, but I have everything listed here (although my sausages are chipolatas) will make it tomorrow, thank you Jacqui 🙂

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      March 30, 2020 6:28 am

      That’s wonderful, Kay. This recipe is perfect for using leftovers and it is so filling, so it goes a long way.

  • Avatar
    Colleen
    March 21, 2020 7:41 pm

    This pasta dish is so simple, yet so delicious! definitely on my meal rotation now!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      March 30, 2020 6:28 am

      Simple and delicious is my favourite combination!

  • Avatar
    Cate
    March 21, 2020 7:22 pm

    This looks so yummy and comforting! Thanks for the idea! 🙂

  • Avatar
    Tawnie Kroll
    March 21, 2020 7:17 pm

    So happy we have leftovers of this to have for lunch today – amazing meal!!! Thank you!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      March 30, 2020 6:29 am

      You cannot beat leftovers of a delicious meal – all the flavour without the work!

  • Avatar
    Anita
    March 21, 2020 7:04 pm

    I love how easy and simple it is to prepare this delicious pasta dish. It’s great that the ingredients list is quite minimal, which is perfect when I don’t have much in my pantry, and yet I end up with very satisfying meal.

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      March 30, 2020 6:30 am

      It’s difficult keeping a well-stocked larder at the moment, hopefully recipes like these make life a little easier (and taste wonderful of course!).

  • Avatar
    stephanie
    March 21, 2020 6:50 pm

    This looks delish I can’t wait to try it!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      March 30, 2020 6:30 am

      Thank you, Stephanie!

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