This delicious baked pasta from the April 2014 issue of Food and Wine features a sauce made of roasted tomatoes, garlic, thyme and basil. The roasted tomatoes are added to sautéed onion, crispy pancetta and olives. Meanwhile, roast some broccoli. Cook the rigatoni and stir into the sauce, along with the broccoli, ricotta, Parmigiano-Reggiano and more fresh basil. This would be a great dish for Sunday brunch or a weeknight supper.
Avoiding Additives and Preservatives
Use butter with only a single ingredient: cream. I used nitrite-free bacon instead of pancetta and President’s Choice garlic-stuffed olives, which are all-natural. Check the labels on the ricotta and Parmigiano-Reggiano to make sure they don’t contain colour or artificial ingredients.
2 tablespoons (30 ml) unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
1 ½ pounds (680 g) plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 thyme sprigs
½ cup (125 ml) torn basil leaves, plus 1 basil sprig
3 tablespoons (45 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
1 ½ pounds (680 g) broccoli, cut into small florets and stems reserved for another use
One 4-ounce (113 g) slice of pancetta, finely diced
1 large onion, very finely chopped
1 cup (250 ml) pitted green olives, such as Castelvetrano, halved
1 pound (454 g) rigatoni
2 cups (500 ml) fresh ricotta cheese
¾ cup (175 ml) freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Preheat the oven to 425° F (232° C) and butter a 9-by-13-inch (23-by-33 cm) ceramic or glass baking dish. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the tomatoes, garlic, thyme and basil sprigs with 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for about 20 minutes, until softened and browned in spots; let cool. Discard the thyme and basil sprigs and coarsely chop the tomatoes and garlic, reserving any juices.
Meanwhile, on another rimmed baking sheet, toss the broccoli florets with 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 15 minutes, or until crisp-tender. Leave the oven on.
Meanwhile, in a large, deep skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of olive oil. Add the pancetta and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until browned and nearly crisp, about 5 minutes. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the olives, tomatoes and garlic and the 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of butter; keep warm.
In a pot of salted boiling water, cook the rigatoni until al dente. Drain, reserving 1¼ (300 ml) cups of the cooking water. Stir the pasta into the skillet along with the reserved cooking water, broccoli, ricotta, torn basil and ½ (125 ml) cup of the Parmigiano. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer the pasta to the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the remaining ¼ cup (60 ml) of Parmigiano on top and bake for 15 minutes, until bubbling and browned on top. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving. Serves 6.
From the April 2014 issue of Food and Wine