Wednesday, January 16, 2013


A Righteous Rapid Rustic Rigatoni Recipe
There are hundreds of different Italian pasta (we used to call them “macaroni”) shapes. Of them all, one shape I have always particularly liked is rigatoni.
Years ago in New York City, there used to be these Horn and Hardhart Automats. They were restaurants where everything was in individual compartments behind glass doors. You inserted a coin and opened a small door to obtain your selection. One of their most popular items was macaroni and cheese made with rigatoni. It was a best seller. In that succulent cheese sauce were little specks of red, which were tiny flecks of tomato, and the relatively large macaroni tubes were flush with luscious, molten, cheese goodness. Once tasted, you couldn't forget that luscious rigatoni.

Nowadays, a lot of folks' macaroni and cheese is rapidly made from a blue cardboard box with elbow macaroni and an envelope of orange-coloured “cheese” powder, which requires quite a bit of butter to prepare. But yes, that crafty boxed food is quick to make. Some people “doctor the dish” by adding grated cheese and maybe some breadcrumbs and then slide it under the broiler for a minute or two. Yes, it is swiftly prepared. However, a profoundly more substantial and delectable rigatoni can be rigged up, Italian style, almost as casually, by tossing in a can of beans, some Italian sausage and a few other items.
Quick to prepare and vastly more toothsome than that boxed mac 'n cheese, this Italian sausage and beans and rigatoni dish is something to keep in your kitchen repertoire for those days when you want a tasty, full-flavoured meal but lack extra time to create it. You can doubly savor this meal because its lovely taste belies its ease of preparation. If you have some Italian sausage, spinach and a can of beans you are almost ready already.
1 tablespoon Olive Oil

1 pound Italian sausage (hot or mild), put in the freezer for ten minutes, sliced lengthwise and then crosswise into half moons

½ teaspoon fennel seeds (optional but nice)

4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
8-10 ounces chicken stock or broth

10 ounce box of frozen spinach, partially thawed, or a 5 oz. bag of fresh baby spinach (so tender you can include the stalks)

1 can (10-15oz) great northern, cannelloni or pinto beans, rinsed and drained (I used pinto)

½ cup or more grated asiago, provolone or parmesan cheese
Parmesan cheese for individual diners to sprinkle on their dish

¾ teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon oregano
Heaping ¼- teaspoon dried red pepper flakes or black pepper

1 pound rigatoni

  • Heat the oil in a big skillet or large saucepan
  • Put in the sausage slices and fennel ( if using) and fry, stirring until sausage is browned
  • Add the broth and garlic, bring to boiling and then lower heat
  • Stir in the spinach, beans, cheese and seasonings
  • Stir in the rigatoni
  • Cover and gently cook the rigatoni (about ten minutes) stir intermittingly
  • If spinach and bean mixture appears dry, add some water to the saucepan
  • Test rigatoni for doneness; taste for salt and adjust accordingly                                                                                                                                  
    There it is: Italian beans, sausage and rigatoni; a grand, pleasing, nourishing meal that is quick and easy to put together. We hope you will enjoy it soon.


Joyce said...

You can never go wrong with Italian sausage : )

Manzanita said...

Anthony, Glad to see you back. I just recently returned myself. I remember seeing those little auto mats or what ever they were called, in movies. We never had anything like that in a small town.
You can make the most mundane food into a celebration.

subhashini said...

perfect for satisfying hunger at any time.

Swathi said...

Looks delicious and easy to make.

anthony stemke said...

JOYCE: I like your attitude. cm

MANZANITA: Hi there, so happy to hear from you. I think Horn and Hardharts closed in the late 1960's. They were clean and the food was very appealing. Whole walls filled with little glass window doors, all coin operated. Maybe is mundane, however, my spouse raved and raved about it.
Wish you the best.

anthony stemke said...

SUBHASHINI: Very well put, Thank You for saying so.

SWATHI IYER: It is very delicious and a snap to put together. And economical also.
Thanks for visiting today.

Jehanne said...

thi slook slike a healthy quick midweek meal, bookmarked. Thanks

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Sounds like my kinda dish. Doesn't most good Italian sausage already have fennel in it? I did a post about making Polish sausage not long ago, and I was hoping you'd stop by. For more than forty years, I've used a cow horn to stuff my sausage meat into the casings, but my brother recently gave me a new-fangled "gun" to do the job.

Good to have you back in the ol' blogosphere.

anthony stemke said...

JEHANNE: That's exactly what it is, and you're welcome.

anthony stemke said...

SUSAN FLETT SWIDERSKI: The "sweet" Italian sausage contains fennel, the "hot" not much if any. But I like to add fennel regardless to additionally flavour the body of the dish.

Years ago I made sausage a few times and I am going to seek your post on the Polish sausage.

Don't you find the "gun" a trifle more efficient.

My computer got infected and the fellow that repaired it installed Apache Office to replace Word. I am pretty computer ignorant. When I copy and paste my blog to blogger the text has a lot of spacing that is hard to resolve by backspacing. The biggest problem is when my spouse e-mails me the photo I took (Can't install it to my "pictures"). I download to computer but can't bring to blogger. Learned that I have to switch to "htlm" to put it on the blog. Not to bore you to death here, just trying to explain that a post I write can take 3-4 days to publish. If I had a 10 year old to help me it ould be easier. cm

Take care Susan, let me take a look at that kielbasa.

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

If you're having a problem publishing pictures from your computer to your blog, I can't help but wonder if you're using Google Chrome? If not, I recommend it highly. It's a FREE download, and works so much more efficiently and easily with blogger.

Since you're going in search of the post about kielbasa, you'll find out soon enough what I thought of the gun.

anthony stemke said...

SUSAN FLETT SWIDERSKI: Somehow "Chrome" got installed a while back but I didn't like it nor did my spouse, so I got it de-installed.

Although the gun took twice as long, I think with repeated use speed will develop; although there is something nostalgic about using a cow's horn. You could do a whole batch (couple of pounds-worth)in just a little more time. Modern equipment is very good but I remember when I was brewing beer, reading about the Samuel Smith brewery where they brewed the beers in long narrow slate troughs built from locally occurring slate. I guess I'm getting wordy.
See ya.

Eat To Live said...

I can eat that if I don't use the sausage or pasta. I guess it would be kind of tasteless then..... like most of my food. LOL... Oh to be young again.

Liz That Skinny Chick Can Bake said...

I need to pick up some spinach and Italian sausage! This definitely sounds like a winning dinner!

Prathima Rao said...

This looks like a perfect dish for hearty, homely & comforting meal..Delicious!!!! Reg your query on substitute for bottle gourd, there may not be a perfect substitute..but you could try adding zucchini(green) in place of bottle gourd. I have not tried this way but I am sure it may not taste bad! Just a bit different flavor may be.. ;)

Prathima Rao
Prats Corner

Patrycja (photoopassion) said...

Very cool blog. Interesting posts. ;)
Nice atmosphere guests with you here on the blog. ;]
Yours. Have a nice day. !

Follow me on facebook fanpage and blog
I'm very concerned about this, please. :)

Dawn@Lighten Up! said...

Looks fantastic, as usual, Anthony! Rigatoni holds a special place in my heart, because it's what my Grandma served about twice a week, the whole time I was growing up. I love it. Sadly, no one at my current household does. :(

anthony stemke said...

MY JOURNEY WITH CANDIDA: Not being able to eats foods that we love can be bummer. We were in Fla. last month for a few weeks and I didn't exercise but ate like a gavon. I gained close to 15 lbs. When we returned I started eating only fruit (alkaline)in the am until noon. No coffee (until later in the day where I really enjoyed moreso). Lunch was more fruit and then a salad and maybe soup. Dinner a regular meal. I dropped 12 lbs. Haven't had bacon 'n eggs or hamburgers in over a month.
I rergret that without the sausage and pasta this dish would be pointless (as well as tasteless).
I consider you to be young. It's a question of attitude.
Take good care of yourself.

anthony stemke said...

LIZZY DO: It is a winning dish for two reasons. A. Is easy and 2. Is delicious. When you are busy baking, you can throw this together pronto.

anthony stemke said...

PRATHIMA RAO: Thank you for visiting. I think I will try the soup using zucchini. I think that touch of catsup will give it a nice slight tang. See ya.

PATRYCJA PHOTOGRAPHY: Thank you for calling.

DAWN@LIGHTENUP: Thanks Dawn but what kind of people don't like rigatoni. I tell 'ya, kids will always find a way to break your heart.

Lynn Proctor said...

this would go over big in our house--frank would love the sausage and me the beans :)

Golden Eagle said...

I love rigatoni. It's great to find a pasta recipe!

anthony stemke said...

LYNN PROCTOR: Even if you eschew the meat the beans will taste great.

Joanne said...

I love a good pasta dish and this looks like total comfort food to me!

anthony stemke said...

JOANNE: Show this recipe to your boyfriend and ask him to cook it for you. It isn't difficult and it would be a good test to see how interested in you he really is.
But please, don't shove any lemons up his nose until AFTER he makes it. cm

anthony stemke said...

THE GOLDEN EAGLE: Rigatoni is a wonderful macaroni; you will love this easy dish.

Danielle L Zecher said...

It looks really good, and I love that it's quick to make. We're not big fans of Italian sausage. Do you think it would work with ground beef?

anthony stemke said...

DANIELLE L ZECHER: Yes, you could substitute ground beef for this if you are not partial to Italian sausage. Taste for seasoning because you may want to add more herbs.

Leovi said...

Yes, I like, delicious recipe. Greetings.

Elizabeth said...

This looks delicious...YUMMY.

Going to copy this recipe.

I like your kale and white bean soup recipe too.

THANKS for sharing and for stopping by my blog earlier and commenting on the pasta.

Silver's Reviews

anthony stemke said...

LEOVI: Greetings, love your work.

ELIZABETH: Thank you very much for your kind words, we love that kale and white bean soup too. Your baking skills are tops.

Anonymous said...

Hi Anthony,

Glad to see you back.
A real Italian treat. I have used the fennel trick on German Bratwurst filling when I can't get my hands on salsiccia. Works like a charm!
The beans make this a meal in itself.

Take care,

anthony stemke said...

HEATNEAT: Happy to hear from you, had difficulty finding you. Although I use caraway seeds when I cook sauerkraut I also add fennel seeds to it too.
We love the rigatoni dish.
Yake care.

Alexis AKA MOM said...

Oh I agree Italian Sausage is one of my favs. This looks amazing!

anthony stemke said...

ALEXIS AKA MOM: Thanls Alexis, it is amazing.

Unknown said...

I asked for seconds and thirds, I'm afraid, with this recipe. It's so good, it's DANGEROUS!

anthony stemke said...

KATHY STEMKE: In a case like this baby-sugar, you thrive on "danger'.
Always happy to feed the Princess.

Missed Periods said...

Your post just convinced me; I'm having pasta for dinner tonight.

anthony stemke said...

MISSED PERIODS: A wise dinner choice for the teacher.
I assume you are home now, hope your literary sojourn was a success.

Roz | La Bella Vita Cucina said...


First of all, this combination of sausage and beans with one of my favorite pasta shapes (rigatoni) has to be so delicious. I can just smell the aroma it exudes! Secondly, I wanted to thank you for one of the most ultimate compliments I've ever been given. I left another comment after your comment to read. I am SO glad you made the pork in milk and that you enjoyed it. I hope to continue to share recipes that people like you really appreciate!

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