Rigatoni with Vegetables, Tomato and Cream Sauce (Rigatoni Strascicati)
  • Cooking Time: 18-23
  • Servings: 4-6
  • Preparation Time: 30
  • 6 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium-size onion, diced
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 1 medium-size red bell pepper, diced (I used green bell pepper)
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 small sprig fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 4 cups canned imported Italian tomatoes with their juice, put through a strainer or food mill to remove the seeds
  • 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 lb. rigatoni, fettuccine, shells, or penne
  • 10 to 12 fresh basil leaves, finely shredded
  • 1 cup freshly grated parmigiano cheese
  1. In a large skillet heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the diced vegetables, garlic, sage and rosemary; cook, stirring, 4 to 5 minutes until the veggies are lightly golden. Add the tomatoes and cook, uncovered, over low heat for 12 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer the sauce to a food processor or blender; blend until smooth.
  2. Melt butter over medium heat in the same skillet used to cook the sauce. Return the tomato mixture to the skillet. Add cream, season with salt and pepper, and simmer gently 1 to 2 minutes over medium-low heat. You can add a bit of water if the sauce is too thick.
  3. Meanwhile, prepare the pasta according to package directions until al dente (or firm to the bite). Drain and place in the skillet with the sauce. Stir in the basil and 1/3 cup of the cheese. Mix over low heat until pasta is completely coated with sauce, less than 1 minute. Serve with remaining grated cheese.
A neighbor had just given me a large amount of plum tomatoes and I was desperate not to let them go to waste. Instead of using the canned tomatoes, I steamed the tomatoes for a few minutes then plunged them in ice water to easily remove the skins. I also ran the tomatoes through a food mill to remove the seeds. It wasn't too bad a chore and the results of my sauce were great. I used 3 lbs. of plum tomatoes, but of course, canned is much easier.