Rigatoni, that mysterious oblong, hollow noodle. Who knew that it would serve as the delicious base for so many recipes? I have only recently become familiar with said noodle, but I can testify that it provides a nice change-up for those of us who cook and eat virtually all our meals at home. Now that I think about it, Friar Tyst was the one who originally introduced me to that little log-like wonder. He ordered it from a certain Italian restaurant one time and liked it very much, but said that he wished that they had served less noodles and more sauce. This is often the case with many restaurant pasta dishes, they skimp on the sauce and are too generous with the plain noodles. Lean Mean One-Pot Rigatoni falls under my food category called Gourmet With Shortcuts. I try to be a gourmet chef, but, well, “ain’t nobody got time for that!” So to all of you out there who wish to combine deliciousness, convenience, and superior food into one sweet and sassy package, this one’s for you. This episode of Delicious Food 101 features The Chef, Friar Tyst, and The Health Inspector.

The Chef: “Friar Tyst, how have I done on turning your favorite pasta into a supreme dish?” Friar Tyst: “Well it’s real good I guess.” The Chef: “No speeches? Long sentences full of elaborate depiction?” Friar Tyst: “It needs more cheese.” The Chef: “Well, who can argue with that? Bring on the Parmesean!”

The Chef: “Mr. Health Inspector, it has been too long since you have darkened the halls of this hallowed blog, our readers have suffered from the strain that your absence has caused…” The Health Inspector: “What do you want?” The Chef: “Simply an honest opinion on this rigatoni, sir.” The Health Inspector: “Well at least it doesn’t use a lot of dishes.” The Chef: “Hmmmm…..”

The Ingredients: 1 lb. rigatoni pasta, 1 12 oz. can Kroger Six Cheese pasta sauce, 1/2 lb. cooked ground turkey or ground chicken, 1 large zucchini, 1/2 yellow onion, 2-3 cloves fresh garlic, 2 tbsp. tomato paste, 2 tbsp. olive oil, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, cumin, oregano, basil.

In the bottom of a large soup pot, over medium high heat, add the olive oil, diced zucchini, and diced onion. Saute for five to ten minutes. Add the tomato paste and minced garlic, cook for two minutes. Remove this mixture from the pot and set aside. DO NOT CLEAN OUT THE POT. This is where the magic happens. Fill the pot with water and use a metal or wooden spoon to scrape the bottom, allowing all the goodness to turn the water red. Now, bring the goodness to a boil, and add the pasta. Cook to al dente. Now you can drain the pasta and seasoned water. DO NOT CLEAN OUT THE POT. This is the key here people. Those good brown bits are essential. Add the pasta, the veggies and tomato paste mixture, can of pasta sauce, cooked lean meat, and spices to the pot. Stir well, allow to heat through (optional), and garnish with shredded, FRESH Parmesan cheese before serving. Notice the imperative sentence.

Pasta….beautiful pasta…..

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