Rigatoni With Sweet Italian Sausage, Eggplant and Tomato

Foodista Cookbook Entry

Category: Main Dishes | Blog URL: http://vinomezachat.blogspot.com/

This recipe was entered in The Foodista Best of Food Blogs Cookbook contest, a compilation of the world’s best food blogs which was published in Fall 2010.


2 cups whole wheat rigatoni
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 shallot - peeled and chopped
4 cloves garlic
5 links Sweet Italian Turkey Sausage
1 medium sized eggplant
3 mediums sized tomatoes
1 8 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato paste
4 ounces ( half a small container) Mascarpone cheese
1/2 teaspoon (each) Salt and Pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat leaf parsley


In a pot, boil your pasta until al dente and drain. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and toss so that pasta does not clump.
In a deep skillet, start by sauteing the finely chopped shallot and garlic over olive oil for about 5 minutes over medium heat.
Add in diced eggplant and tomatoes and stir.
Remove sausage from casings and add crumbled sausage meat to the skillet.
Stir and allow the sausage and veggies to brown.
Add in can of crushed tomatoes and cover. Allow to cook for about 10 -15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add in tomato paste and Mascarpone cheese and stir until it is melted into the sauce.
Allow to cook through another 5 minutes.
Season with salt and pepper and stir.
Add rigatoni to skillet and stir to combine with the sauce.
Top with parsley and serve piping hot


I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised with how dinner turned out tonight, considering there was no real plan for it. I had thawed out some Cod fillets this morning in an effort to eat light post all of the Christmas and New Year over indulgence, but the snow was coming down all day here and all I wanted was something warm and comforting, a big fire, and a glass of wine. So the Cod went into the fridge for tomorrow.

I do my meal planning and grocery shopping on the weekends, but usually by Thursday or Friday and I am pulling at straws, trying to think of what to make with what is left. Obviously I have a bit more planning to do. Our freezer is pretty well stocked with meat right now from some recent Costco trips so I based the dinner around what we had hiding in there. Sweet Italian Turkey Sausage sounded nice and winter-like. In the veggie department there was an eggplant that I didn't have a plan for and several fresh tomatoes. To tie it all together I decided to use my new secret weapon of late - Mascrapone cheese. Perfect thing to add creaminess to a dish. Some whole wheat rigatoni noodles, and this made for a rich tasting, satisfying meal. I topped it off with some chopped flat leap parsley to give it some color. I am almost embarrassed to share the fact that I have had this particular bunch of parsley in my fridge for a while. I mean almost two weeks. I happen to have gotten it from Whole Foods for a special meal and it apparently is like the Incredible Hulk of herbs, because when i pulled the last of it from the fridge tonight, it was just green and fresh as can be.

As for the wine, tonight it was Merlot. Which is sort of unlike us. We just aren't Merlot drinkers. In a Bordeaux style blend, sure, but we just don't tend to drink Merlot often in our house. I had recently tried this wine when a sales rep had brought it in, and it just struck a cord with me. Great weeknight wine, nice, somewhat rustic cherry flavor, easy to drink, decent finish and under $12. So with dinner we enjoyed a glass of the 2007 FineLine Merlot from Paso Robles. Then we enjoyed a second glass by the fire.


4.0 servings


Thursday, February 18, 2010 - 3:39pm


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