I picked up a special edition of Fine Cooking magazine, called "Big Buy" at Costco before vacation. I hoped to find some good big batch dinner ideas that I could freeze for quick meals down the road. I brought it along with me while away & my stepmother made this recipe one night for dinner. It was devoured so quickly, I barely remember it being on anyone's plate.
I used whole wheat pasta, because that's what I had on hand. It was a smaller shape than most rigatoni & I would recommend getting the bigger kind, if you can.
To prepare, dice 2 medium zucchinis, crumble 3 ounces of plain goat cheese,
peel 2-3 large shallots,
and mince them. Next, mince 2 tablespoons of fresh flat-leaf parsley & add it to a bowl with the goat cheese.
Finely, grate a 1/4 cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.
Begin the dish by bringing a large pot of salted water to a boil & cook 1 pound of rigatoni. Set a timer for about 1-2 minutes less than directed on the package. While the pasta is cooking, heat a 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil, over medium heat, in a skillet. Remove the casings from 3/4 pound of Italian sausage & add it to the pan.
Cook for 3-5 minutes, breaking it up into smaller pieces as you cook, until almost cooked through. Remove the sausage from the pan & set aside. Pour the excess fat from the pan, but do not wipe it clean. Return the pan to the heat & add in the remaining 2 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil.
Add the shallots & saute until they are beginning to soften.
Add in the zucchini & saute for 3-5 minutes, or until just tender. Remove from the heat.
When the pasta is cooked a bit less than al dente, reserve a 1/2 cup of the cooking water & drain. Pour the pasta back into the pot & return to the heat.
Add the zucchini mixture, sausage & a few tablespoons of the cooking water. Cook for about 3 minutes, or until the sausage is cooked through & the pasta is al dente. Remove from the heat & stir in the goat cheese & parsley. Season with salt & pepper & add in enough of the water to create a smooth consistency.
Spoon the pasta onto serving plates, top with the grated cheese & serve.
Rigatoni with Zucchini, Sausage & Goat CheeseAdapted from Fine Cooking Magazine, "Big Buy" Edition, 2009
1 pound dried rigatoni
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3/4 pound Italian Sausage (mild or spicy), casings removed
1/3 cup finely chopped shallots (about 3)
2 medium zucchini squash, medium diced
3 ounces fresh goat cheese, crumbled
2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (opitional)
Cook the rigatoni in a large pot of boiling, salted water until a bit less than al dente (about 1-2 minutes less than directed).
While the pasta is cooking, heat 1/2 tablespoon of oil in a medium skillet & cook the sausage, breaking up into small pieces, until almost cooked through (3-5 minutes). Remove the sausage from the pan & set aside. Pour the fat out of the pan, but do not wipe clean.
Heat the remaining 2 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat & cook the shallots until softened, about 1 minute. Add the zucchini & cook for an additional 3-5 minutes, or until the squash is just tender.
Reserve a 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water & drain. Pour back into pot & add the zucchini, sausage & a few tablespoons of the cooking water. Return the pot to the stove & continue to cook until the sausage is cooked through & the pasta is al dente, about 3 minutes. Add more water if necessary, to keep the mixture moist.
Remove from the heat & stir in the goat cheese & parsley. Season with salt & pepper & add any remaining water, to make a smooth sauce.
Serve with the Parmesan sprinkled on top, if desired.
Click here for the printable recipe.