I’ve always been a pasta girl. My favorite meal growing up was rigatoni in red sauce. With a glass of milk. Sometimes my mom added chicken to the rigatoni, creating “chicken and pasta” and my most requested dinner dish ever. Mom’s pasta masterpiece.
Wanting to recreate it recently, I asked her about how it was made and she just laughed. No recipe. Sauce out of a jar of course. But the good kind. Never Prego. Maybe she baked the chicken? And then just added it to the pot of pasta and sauce? As few dishes to wash later as possible. Possibly every time she made it, it was a little different, she said. But I didn’t notice. Cause I loved rigatoni and red sauce. Today I love that it seemed so effortless to her. I’m sure it wasn’t. My mom the most dedicated and hard working woman…she taught me what hustle is all about. And how to love it too. She didn’t always have time or energy to make dinner (nor should she), but when she did, and it happened to be one of my favorite meals, I know she loved the work.
I’m pretty skilled in the 10-minute Sunday Pasta. Just need butter, cheese, parm, and angel hair which only takes 3 minutes to cook. I’ve been breaking this out a lot recently, in between thai/deli/pizza/burger takeout orders…to remind myself that I am a real person who eats real food when I’m not at work. (At least work feeds me good, real food, right?)
Well this Sunday I had time. To grocery shop. To let my sauce simmer. To chop an onion. To drink a great glass a wine and dance around to LFO while cooking. To taste as I was cooking. To actually eat with someone else. To do all the dishes. Ok, I didn’t make the grilled caesar salad to go along with it or sit at a real table to eat. But just like mom, I can’t do it all, but I can absolutely squeeze in time for my favorite meal, and a little feel-good, during a crazy week.
Since we never figured out the whole chicken part of “chicken and pasta” I added a mild Italian sausage instead. I probably wouldn’t have liked this when I was five. But I’m way into it at 27.
Sunday Pasta: Rigatoni With Sausage Ragu
In a dutch oven, sauté onion and garlic until onion softens. Add grated carrot. Open the casings of the sausage – I used mild Italian pork sausage – and satué until brown. Add herbs like rosemary and thyme + salt and pepper. When sausage is browned, add several cans of whole peel tomatoes to the pot. You could cook this all afternoon or just 30 minutes until the tomatoes have broken down. Add a splash of red wine and heavy cream. Toss with cooked rigatoni and grate fresh parm on top.