I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted a recipe, with work and remodeling the back yard it’s been hard for me to find the time. I’m here now, this is my Rigatoni With Sweet Italian Chicken Sausage.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Yields: 4 to 6 servings
Equipment: 1 rimmed baking sheet pan, colander spoon, 1 (6-quart) saucepot, 1 (12-inch) sauté pan with a glass lid, large rondeau pot (deep-sided frying/braising pan with a lid), 1 (12-inch) cast-iron skillet, chef’s knife, colander spoon
2 pounds (10 links) of sweet Italian chicken sausage
3 1/2 cups of chicken broth, low sodium
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
2 tablespoons of fennel seeds
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
1 orange bell pepper, diced
1 large sweet onion, diced
2 zucchini, diced (sliced into half-moons and quartered)
1 pint of grape tomatoes, halved
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups of dry white wine, Pino Grigio
1 1/2 pounds (1 1/2 boxes) of (Barilla) Rigatoni
2 cups of starchy pasta cooking liquid
2 tablespoons of fresh oregano leaves, roughly chopped
1/4 cup of fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped plus basil leaves for garnish
1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, freshly grated plus more for serving
1 1/2 boxes (1 1/2 pounds) Rigatoni, Barilla
To start, pour 1/2 a cup of chicken broth into a large sauté pan. Using a fork prick 3 sets of holes in each of the sausage links on both sides. Arrange the links in the pan and cover. Over medium heat, bring the sausages up to a simmer/low boil, turning halfway through, cook for 10 minutes. Transfer the links to a plate and discard any of the cooking liquid left in the pan. Set the pan on a back burner (out of the way) until needed.
In the meantime, prep all the vegetables by dicing or mincing according to the ingredient list above. Place onto a rimmed baking sheet pan, set aside.
Preheat a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Transfer the links to the skillet. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes on each side, getting a good sear on all sides of the links. Transfer to a plate and set aside. Allow the links to cool slightly before slicing them on the bias, approx. 1/2-inch thick.
In the same pan sauté pan, over medium heat, add olive oil, tomato paste, and fennel seeds. Cook until the fennel seeds begin to *bloom and become fragrant.
To the pan add the diced onions, stirring frequently, until they soften and become translucent around 2 to 3 minutes. Next, add the diced peppers, stir to combine. Add the zucchini and minced garlic, again stir to combine. Season with Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper, stirring frequently until the vegetables soften, another 3 to 5 minutes.
To release all the bits from the sausage and veggies from the bottom of the pan, *deglaze with 1 1/2 cups of white wine. Using the back of a wooden spoon, scrape the bits from the bottom of the pan. Allow the wine to reduce by half, 2 to 3 minutes.
Transfer everything from the sauté pan to a large rondeau (deep-sided frying pan).
Still over medium heat add the halved grape tomatoes, sliced Italian sausage, and remaining chicken broth, stir to combine. Continue to simmer while the pasta is cooking.
In a large saucepot, on the back burner, filled with salted boiling water, drop the pasta. Cook just under al dente, about 8 to 10 minutes. Using a colander spoon, transfer the pasta to the rondeau. Gently toss to combine. Reduce the heat to medium-low, continue to simmer together, occasionally stirring, for 15 minutes.
Turn off the heat. Add the chopped herbs toss to combine.
Tip: The pasta will absorb a good amount of the broth. A good tip is to always reserve 2 cups of the starchy pasta cooking liquid to add to the dish if needed.
Finally, transfer everything to a big serving platter. Grate fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese all over the top. Garnish with some fresh basil and who wouldn’t want this for dinner.
There you have it, my Rigatoni With Sweet Italian Chicken Sausage.
*BLoom: Blooming spices, or gently frying them in oil, is a quick way to deepen their flavor. Cook just until the spices smell nice and toasty.
*Deglaze: Dilute meat sediments in (pan) in order to make a gravy or sauce, typically using wine.