Coast Cooking

Coast Cooking: Rigatoni makes a good dish

Rigatoni is one of my favorite pasta shapes, but it is seldom found on restaurant menus these days. 

It is hearty, toothsome and, if you pair it with the right sauce, delicious and filling.

Any pasta is wonderful when just out of the boiling water, drained, tossed in good olive oil and parmesan, but rigatoni seems to demand more. 

The recipe below used to be one of my favorites at an Italian hang-out many years ago, it is simple and oh so good.

Notes of caution; adding dried oregano flakes to a recipe does not make it Italian. Italians would use fresh if there was any way to get it at all. Please do not over sauce your pasta, it is supposed to be about the pasta, not soup!


1 package rigatoni cooked to package directions

2 cups best quality, imported whole tomatoes

2/3 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup chopped ham

1/2 cup cooked green peas

Red pepper flakes

Sauté the ham in olive oil until it starts to take on color, add a pinch or two of red   pepper flakes and the onion, and cook for 5 more minutes. Now add the tomatoes and simmer for 30 minutes, add the cooked peas and cook for 5 minutes more. Plate the pasta, add a scant 1/2 cup sauce to each, top with lots of parmesan and serve at once.