Last week, I handed David a cookbook and asked “What should I make for dinner?”
I should not have been surprised when he thumbed to the Pasta chapter for inspiration.
Nor should I have been shocked to hear him suggest variations on the theme of noodles, cheese, and sausage.
I wasn’t surprised. I really wasn’t. I ended up making this Rigatoni with Cheese & Italian Sausage from the Bon Appetit Fast Easy Fresh cookbook.
Side Note: don’t think I’ve talked much about this cookbook before, and I really should. I picked up it up at Costco in a two book set (bundled with the Bon Appetit Cookbook). I like both books. Though they don’t have pictures of every recipe, what it lacks in illustrations it makes up in volume. Each book contains hundreds of recipes. The one we’re talking about today is broken down into sections on Starters, Soups, Salads, Sandwiches, Pasta & Rice, Chicken/Poultry, Salmon, Shrimp, Meat, Potatoes, Vegetables, Breakfast, Quick Breads, Frozen Desserts, Cookies & Brownies & Pies & Cakes, Custards & Puddings & Fruit Desserts, and Drinks.
Food Network Magazine has divided its recipe sections into weeknight cooking and weekend cooking. I really like that distinction. I love to cook, but there are things that just don’t make sense for a Wednesday night, and I appreciate the ability to flip through recipes knowing that I have the time and energy to prepare any of them. This set from Bon Appetit really makes the same kind of distinction. While I like both books a lot, the Fast Easy Fresh cookbook is really for weeknight cooking. The Bon Appetit Cookbook is more weekend fare. (P.S. Not to oversell it, but for the price of either book, you also get a free subscription to Bon Appetit magazine. Not a bad deal at all, if you’re into that sort of thing. And I am!)
Now, back to David’s pasta.
The Rigatoni with Cheese & Italian Sausage is just what the title of the book promises. The recipe came together fast, and uses just enough prepared ingredients (the marinara sauce, sausage) to be simple–without compromising flavor. Freshly grated cheese and fresh herbs bring a brighter, fresher taste to the dish than the pasta we’d normally throw together on a weeknight.
Rigatoni with Cheese & Italian Sausage
Adapted from the Bon Appetit Fast Easy Fresh cookbook. (4 servings)
- 1 pound box rigatoni noodles
- 8 ounces hot Italian sausage, casings removed
- 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 3 cups prepared marinara sauce
- 1 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
- 1/4 cup grated mozzarella cheese
- 1/4 cup grated cheddar cheese
- 1 ounce freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley
- Extra-virgin olive oil
1. Cook rigatoni in a large pot of boiling salted water until just tender, but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain.
2. Meanwhile, preheat broiler. Saute sausage in a large heavy saucepan over medium-high heat until no longer pink, breaking up into crumbles as it cooks. Add garlic, stir 2 minutes. Drain off excess drippings and return to medium-high heat.
3. Stir in marinara sauce, crushed red pepper, and cooked pasta. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to 9×13 inch broilerproof baking dish. Sprinkle mozzarella and Parmesan over top.
4. Place under broiler until cheese melt and begin to brown, watching closely to prevent burning (about 1 1/2 minutes). Sprinkle rigatoni with fresh parsley and drizzle with olive oil.