Crowd- pleasing rigatoni easy to fix

  • By Lisa Abraham Akron Beacon Journal
  • Tuesday, December 3, 2013 5:11pm
  • Life

Pasta is always a good idea for supper. Not only is it quick, but it’s also a crowd pleaser.

Nobody understands this as well as Lidia Bastianich.

If you’ve watched her long-running PBS television shows, “Lidia’s Italy” and “Lidia’s Family Table,” you know that she produces pasta dishes that are simple, straightforward, easy to prepare and full of authentic flavor.

Her newest book, “Lidia’s Commonsense Italian Cooking” ($35), written along with her daughter, Tanya Bastianich Manuali, is filled with easy pasta recipes, along with a wealth of salads, soups, meat, seafood and vegetable dishes.

Try out this dish of baked rigatoni and zucchini, which makes good use of end-of-the-season zucchini and any basil left in the garden, too.

Baked rigatoni and zucchini

1/2teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for the pot

1/4cup extra-virgin olive oil

1medium onion, sliced

1pound medium zucchini, sliced

1can (28 ounces) whole San Marzano tomatoes, crushed by hand

1cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped

1pound rigatoni

1tablespoon unsalted butter

8ounces shredded Fontina cheese

1cup grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for pasta.

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, and cook until it begins to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the zucchini, and cook until it begins to soften, another 5 minutes. Add the salt, then the crushed tomatoes, slosh the tomato can out with 1 cup water and add it to the skillet as well. Bring the sauce to a boil, and simmer just until it thickens, about 8 to 10 minutes, but don’t let the zucchini begin to fall apart. Then toss in the chopped basil.

Meanwhile, cook the rigatoni until al dente, a few minutes shy of the package directions. Drain the pasta, and toss it in the skillet with the tomato sauce and basil.

Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. In a medium bowl, toss together the two cheeses. Spread half the pasta and sauce in the baking dish, and top with half the cheese. Layer the remaining pasta and sauce, then the remaining cheese.

Bake, uncovered, until browned and bubbly, about 20 minutes.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

“Lidia’s Commonsense Italian Cooking,” by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich and Tanya Bastianich Manuali

More in Life

Leanne Smiciklas, the friendly lady who served customers of her husband’s Old School Barbeque from a schoolbus parked in front of the Reptile Zoo east of Monroe, has died at 64. (Dan Bates / Herald file)
Without her, beloved BBQ hotspot in Monroe can’t go on

Leanne Smiciklas, who ran the now-closed Old School BBQ along Highway 2 with her husband, died.

Taylor Johnston waters a philodendron at her home on Friday, Dec. 8, 2017 in Everett, Wa. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Three guidebooks to help the novice houseplant gardener

Indoor plants are popular again — and we’re not talking about your grandma’s African violets.

Plant of Merit: Fatsia japonica ‘Variegata,’ Japanese aralia

What: Fatsia japonica ‘Variegata,’ or variegated Japanese aralia, is an evergreen shrub… Continue reading

Don’t call Justice Brewing owner a gypsy — he’s just ‘homeless’

After an unexpected hardship, owner Nate McLaughlin won’t be moving his brewery to downtown Everett.

A mild December makes for easy winter cleanup in the garden

If you haven’t finished your November gardening tasks, here’s a list of chores to do this month.

Beer of the Week: Justice Brewing’s Outlook F——d, Northeast IPA

The brewery’s new beer with a vulgar name is a tropical IPA that riffs off its Outlook Hazy recipe.

Yummy Banh Mi offers cheap sandwiches with rich flavor

Classic Vietnamese meets fast food at new restaurant in downtown Everett.

Could a law to bring down the mob be used in Weinstein case?

The federal anti-racketeering law was drafted to bring down organized crime but it isn’t limited to it.

This author is throwing a virtual party for book lovers

Jennifer Bardsley is hosting a Facebook get-together for young-adult book authors and readers.

Most Read