Big Rig Pasta | Oregano’s Copycat Recipe
When Sean lived out in Phoenix, one of his favorite restaurants, Oregano’s, served something called the Big Rig Pasta. It’s a super tasty dish of rigatoni pasta covered in a spicy, chipotle-cream sauce. Since there aren’t any Oregano’s locations here in Wisconsin, we decided to try finding the recipe online. Eventually, we found one by Wee Eats and decided to give it a try.
It’s become one of our favorite dinners and we make it at least once a month. We’ve made a few tweaks here and there and have pretty much gotten it down to a science.
Keep reading to check out our copycat recipe for Oregano’s Big Rig Pasta! My mouth is watering just thinking about it!
- 1-2 tablespoons olive oil (enough to cover the bottom of your pan)
- 1 small yellow onion, chopped
- 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 2 celery ribs, chopped
- 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1-2 tablespoons minced chipotle peppers, depending on how spicy you want it
- 1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes
- Salt & pepper, to taste
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 4 fresh basil leaves + more for garnish
- 1 lb. box rigatoni pasta
- Optional: garnish with fresh basil, parmesan cheese and shredded grilled chicken
We always use the pre-minced garlic in the glass jar. A 1/2 teaspoon of minced garlic = approx. 1 garlic clove.
Chipotle peppers are typically found near the salsas. We buy the brand La Costena that can be found at Walmart and have used both this one in a glass jar and this one in a tin can. The chipotle peppers are what make this dish spicy (we always choose to add 2 tablespoons instead of 1).
I would highly recommend using fresh basil for this recipe – it makes a world of difference! However, if you don’t have fresh basil, you can substitute it for 1/2 teaspoon of dried basil.
Don’t worry about chopping the vegetables perfectly, everything will be puréed at the end.
If you want to add some protein, I would recommend grilled, shredded chicken. It tastes amazing on top of this dish!
Step by Step Instructions
Warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, and celery and saute. Stir occasionally until the vegetables are softened but not browned (5-10 minutes or so). Sprinkle with salt and pepper and stir again to coat. Add garlic and stir until fragrant.
Add tomatoes and crush with a spoon. Cover and cook at a gentle simmer for 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are completely tender.
Add chipotles peppers and 4 whole basil leaves, stir. Simmer with lid slightly ajar for 15 more minutes. This is a good time to start cooking the pasta noodles and grilling the chicken.
Remove the 4 basil leaves with a pair of tongs (if you used dried basil, obviously you skip this part). Ladle the sauce into a blender. We use this Vitamix blender; a regular blender will do, you just might have to do it in batches so it doesn’t jam up! Puree the sauce until super smooth. We’ll run the blender on high for a few minutes.
Once pureed, transfer it back to the pan, stir in the cream, place it back over low heat, and cover it. Bring the sauce to a simmer for a few minutes.
Drain the noodles and toss with the chipotle-cream sauce. Garnish with fresh-cut basil, parmesan cheese, and grilled shredded chicken, if desired.
I made this last night. Big rig pasta at Oregano’s is a family favorite. It was so good and very very close to the original! I did have to use more heavy cream than the recipe called for though.
I’ve made this a handful of times after living in Arizona and missing it so much. I recently went back this week and got the big rig and I will tell you what I like this recipe more! Thank you so much for sharing.
Yum! We just moved away from Arizona and I’ve been missing this dish!
Thank you for sharing this recipe! The Big Rig was my favorite at Oreganos and after going vegan I missed it so much! I just substituted the cream for cashews in the blender and used some vegan Parmesan cheese. Paired with some veganized garlic bread and Meatless-balls, I was in heaven! My husband and I were fighting over leftovers!
Thanks again, will definitely be making this over and over!
We have some ground Angus to use up. Do you think this recipe would taste okay with a red meat versus chicken?
We’ve only ever used chicken but I would definitely give it a try! You should let me know if you like it, I’d be interested to know!
I hope you tried it with red meat! I normally add some sweet or spicy italian sausage to mine and it’s delicious!
I made this tonight and I agree this is as good of not better than Oreganos! And with inflation, this is so much cheaper to eat at home plus I have tons of leftovers!! Excellent job figuring out this recipe thank you! Now do you know how they make the chipotle dressing that goes on the pablo picasso salad? Thanks again
Yes!! It’s not the same as grilled chicken, but I’m a beef lover & I’ve made this for years–now I want to do it your way !🧡