BAKED RIGATONI AND FLOWER GARDEN FOCACCIA

BAKED RIGATONI AND FLOWER GARDEN FOCACCIA

WHILE PARTS OF THE COUNTRY BEGIN TO EASE INTO OPENING, OUR “WHAT USED TO BE” IS DIFFERENT NOW.

OUR NORMAL TAKES ON MORE INTIMATE SETTINGS AND SOCIAL DISTANCING REMAINS IN PLACE. SO, LET’S MAKE AND SHARE IT OVER THE FENCE.

These dishes are fantastic for a big group, but nothing says you can’t make it, and share with your neighbors. My tribe is big, with 2 Adults and 4 “almost” adults (read starving High Schoolers), 2 dogs, 3 cats, assorted bunnies and chickens -, so … we have a lot of mouths to feed and this casserole meal hits it home with very little leftover. But if there’s 2 or 3 of you, pack some up and send a little love over that fence to your neighbor. Tupperware, or plastic wrapped plates, parchment paper and tin foil for the focaccia, heck make a date and have a 6 foot picnic on the lawn and share the food! We have to get creative with our social nurturing.

Change happens.

Then it changes again. It is the constant we can count on whilst we are here.

Ease, temperance, creativity and some Baked rigatoni with sausage, cheese and tomato sauce is a good way to keep things alive.

IMG_5746.jpeg

Start with:

1 pound cooked rigatoni

For the sausage tomato sauce

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pound Italian sausage. Turkey or Pork and bulk is easiest, but links will do. Remove casings before cooking.

  • 1 large onion diced

  • 4 cloves garlic finely diced

  • 4 cups excellent quality tomato sauce

  • 4 cups baby spinach

  • Salt and Pepper, Crushed red pepper, and Aleppo flakes

As for the tomato sauce, homemade is best. If you can find a few jars from the store, look for the ones with the lowest sugar so you get the best tomato flavor.

PROCEDURE

In the bottom of your EuroCAST square casserole pan:

  1. Brown the onions and the sausage in 3 tablespoons olive oil.

  2. Break up the sausage with a wooden spoon.

  3. Add the onion and Sauté until they are just browned.

  4. Add the garlic and sauté 2 minutes 

  5. Add 4 cups tomato sauce.

  6. Let simmer on low for 20 minutes

  7. Add baby spinach until it wilts.

Taste and season with kosher salt, black pepper and Aleppo flake, or crushed red pepper.

ASSEMBLY

Preheat oven to 350F.

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese

  • 1 cup breadcrumbs-Maybe leftover from that bread you made last week?

PROCEDURE

  1. With a silicone spatula, remove the sauce from the square casserole pan into a large bow (big enough to hold the pasta and the sauce)..

  2. Add the cooked rigatoni to the bowl.

  3. Add the mozzarella cheese and 1/2 cup of the Parmesan cheese.

  4. Stir. 

  5. Pour the contents of the bowl back into the square casserole pan, or other same sized casserole dish.

  6. Cover with breadcrumbs and the remaining Parmesan cheese.

  7. Bake in your preheated oven for 30 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and the edges are browned.

Allow to cool a bit before serving. Straight up, this is better when it’s not molten lava, but don’t let that stop you from digging in.

IMG_5734.jpeg

AND TO ACCOMPANY THIS DELICIOUS BAKED PASTA …

SUPER SIMPLE FOCCOCIA. FLOWER GARDEN DECORATIONS ARE OPTIONAL, BUT ENCOURAGED.

Wild chives, delicate herbs, tomatoes, sliced shallots and sesame seeds with a generous dash of flakey sea salt.

Wild chives, delicate herbs, tomatoes, sliced shallots and sesame seeds with a generous dash of flakey sea salt.

Fingers in the risen dough to get that dimpled texture, perfect little reservoirs for olive oil and salt.

Taking a little rest.

Flower garden assembly, delicate herbs, sliced shallots, juicy tomatoes.

Butterflies do flutter by. Shallots, wild spring chives, quartered tomato and Maladon sea salt.

Garden in full bloom. How does your garden grow?

Garlic infused olive oil to brush over the top.


This gorgeous focaccia is due in part to Bon Appetit’s Shockingly Easy No-Knead Focaccia recipe. I’ve taken a few liberties on the salt quantities, and obv. the flower garden decorations … but, it’s a genius, super easy step by step recipe.

You can follow their lead with this recipe

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.