If vodka can have its own pasta, why not Clairin?

Luca, an Italian whom I’d like to call a friend, would probably smile at my attempt to a pasta dish. After all, it is in his home town of Genoa that he had me try the most amazing pasta dish I probably ever had. A simple delicious pappardelle with pesto. The most exquisite pesto from the capital of pesto. No wonder it was so delicious. Amateur of everything natural and untamed, Luca has these whole in the walls that he visits, where you are sure to eat local at its bets. And this lunch was no small treat.

Let me tell you a little bit more about Luca, so you may understand why I am not completely out of context reminiscing about this dish and mentioning him when I should be talking about my Turkey Rigatoni à la Clairin.

It may be a little pretentious of me to attempt a pasta dish after the mention of such a delight, come to think of it, but why not?!

So Luca is the maestro behind Clairin’s quest to conquer the world.

Luca Gargano fell in love with Haiti and Clairin twenty years ago.

This exuberantly friendly man with extraordinary charisma, contagious simplicity, viral enthusiasm, has adventure in his veins is righteously “THE” rum expert renown worldwide. You should actually get his book L’Atlas du Rhum, a true treasure to have on your book shelf if you are a fine spirits lover or know one.

For the past four years, Luca has embarked the world on the discovery of our traditional Clairin.

What is Clairin some of you must be asking?

Let me try to enlighten you.

This genuine spirit from Haïti is an eaux-de-vie similar to white agricole rum.

Today, thanks to Luca, Haiti has its own category of world-renowned spirits recognized by the sentinel organization Slow Food International.

Slow Food is a global advocate for agri-food biodiversity on a mission to defend the biodiversity of cultivated wild varieties. And our traditional Clairin falls right in, and  is now declared a protected category just like mezcal.

The aim of the Presidium is to safeguard the unique Haitian heritage of Traditional Clairin and to protect the Haitian agricultural system.” (SLOWFOOD)

This persidium currently involves 12 artisanal Traditional Clairin producers from Saint-Michel-de-l’Attalaye, Pignon, Cabaret, Barradères, and Cavaillon, who respect traditional production methods.

Haiti is the ultimate frontier of rum, as Luca likes to say. And he took it upon himself to bottle this ultra local spirit and bring it to the world to enjoy. He founded Clairin The Spirit of Haiti, a company tying his own Velier in Italy and La Maison du Whisky in France, working with producers such as Sajous, Casimir, Vaval and Le Rocher, and bottling their production by Berling S.A in Haiti for export to Europe, and most recently the United States.

You must understand that before, Clairin was rarely bottled and was mostly sold out of plastic barrels in bulk, or on the street in merchant stands straight by the cup or mixed with some spices and aphrodisiac herbs that we call “trampé”, our own version of “rhum arrangé”.

To get a true taste of Haiti one must try our artisanal rum.

For us Haitians, the recent craze about Clairin in trending bars in Europe, New-York and LA is kind of a B.I.G. deal. And I am humbled that my husband, as the bottler, has a part to play in that. So to me, it is a big deal 😉

You now understand better my temptation to use that bottle from our bar in my cooking. I sure hope you will try it too.

Vodka is not Italian, and if it can have it’s own pasta à la vodka, I decided that Clairin needed its own. And thus came along my adventure in the kitchen that brought together this simple yet delicious dish: Turkey Rigatoni à la Clairin !

Tada! Buon apetito!

Haiti Bites turkey rigatoni a la clairin

Turkey Rigatoni à la Clairin

Rigatoni with turkey meat and delicious Clairin sauce recipe

Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Keyword clairin, pasta, turkey
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Haiti Bites Haiti Bites


  • 1.5 lb turkey ground meat
  • 16 oz Rigatoni (1 bag)
  • 1 Fresh tomato diced
  • 1/2 Red onion diced
  • 1/4 cup Green pepper diced
  • 1 cup Spinach chopped
  • 4 tbsp creole garlic marinade (or 2 tbsp garlic paste)
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 leaves sage
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 cup marinara sauce
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp Clairin Casimir
  • 1 cup grated cheese (parmesan, tête de maure, asiago)

Meat marinade

  • 1 tbsp complete seasoning (Badia)
  • 1/2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper
  • 2 tbsp Creole garlic marinade (or 1 tbsp garlic paste)
  • 1/2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce


  1. Marinate your meat mixing in all the marinate ingredients.

  2. Boil pasta according to package direction.

  3. In a saucepan over high heat, add 1 tablespoon olive oil and sauté 2 tablespoons creole garlic marinade (or 1 tablespoon garlic paste) and chopped sage. 

  4. Add in meat and sauté for 5 minutes, mixing occasionally.

  5. Reduce heat and add in vegetable broth, 1 extra tablespoon garlic marinade, salt and white pepper to taste. Let cook, then set aside in a bowl.

  6. In the same saucepan, add in 1 tablespoon olive oil and sauté last tablespoon of creole garlic marinade, 3 extra sage leaves chopped, diced tomatoes, onions and green peppers over high heat.

  7. Reduce heat and add in cream and Clairin and mix well. 

  8. Add in meat and marinara sauce, and mix well. Let simmer over low heat.

  9. Add sugar and salt and white pepper to taste and mix thoroughly.

  10. Add in spinach right before serving and mix well.

  11. Serve pasta with sauce on the side, topped with grated cheese of your choice.

Recipe Notes

You can find my Creole garlic marinade recipe here.