Recipe: Rigatoni a la huancaina

Rigatoni a la huancaina is a cheap Peruvian-inspired meal that can be served as a main or as a side dish. Huancaina is a Peruvian sauce made with aji amarillo (yellow chilli) that is traditionally served with boiled potatoes.

Somewhere in time, perhaps around the 80s or 90s, huancaina found its way away from the humble potato and became a dip for yuquitas fritas (cassava chips), Peruvian corn skewered in toothpicks and other finger food (as can be seen in the photo of my recipe for simple huancaina sauce.

Around that time, huancaina also became a pasta sauce, typically for spaghetti. It is most often served with some protein such as lomo saltado or roast beef, but it is also served on its own especially when money is tight. I served mine with Peruvian osso buco.

I used Macro rigatoni with hemp but you can use any pasta you want. I do recommend you use a higher protein one if you are not using any additional protein.

You can buy aji amarillo paste in grocery shops that sell Latin American products, use your favourite chilli paste or make your own by blending fresh chillies (try to find yellow or orange ones if you want the colour to be similar) with a little water or oil.

Rigatoni a la huancaina

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


Huancaina sauce

  • 1 tsp ghee or extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp aji amarillo paste
  • 150g feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • salt and pepper to taste

To serve


  1. Heat ghee or oil in a pan to medium-low heat. Add onion and cook until soft (10-15 minutes), stirring often.
  2. Add garlic and aji amarillo paste, cook for another 5 minutes.
  3. Cook pasta according to package instructions.
  4. Place onion mixture in a food processor or blender with cheese and milk. Blend to desired consistency (I like mine a little chunky) and season to taste.
  5. Drain pasta, toss with sauce and serve with chopped parsley, Parmesan, optional protein and salad.

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