If you're going to make stuffed pasta, your brain might lean toward ravioli or tortellini. But open-ended pasta shapes can hold their own—just ask Jason Vincent and Ben Lustbader, the chefs behind Giant in Chicago. Here, the duo are sharing a simplified version of a dish hitting the menu at their impossible-to-get-into restaurant: Tubes of rigatoni filled with Italian sausage that get tossed in a quick sauce of cherry tomatoes and rapini.
Recipe adapted from Jason Vincent and Ben Lustbader, Giant, Chicago, IL
Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes, plus cooling time
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes, plus cooling time
½ pound dried rigatoni (medium to small works the best)
¾ pound Italian sausage, uncased
1 large egg
1 cup minced onion
2 tablespoons thinly sliced garlic (from about 3 cloves)
20 cherry tomatoes, halved (approximately 2 cups)
2 tablespoons butter
Reserved pasta water
1 cup rapini, chopped fine
1 teaspoon chopped anchovy fillets
Parmesan or pecorino cheese, to garnish
Juice from 1 lemon
Salt and pepper, to taste
1. Blanch the rigatoni in salted boiling water until it still has a very firm bite, approximately 10 minutes. Remove to a parchment-lined tray greased with cooking spray and allow to cool. (Do not coat the pasta in oil.) Reserve 1 cup of the pasta cooking water.
2. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the Italian sausage until it becomes sticky. Add the egg and continue to beat until it's completely incorporated. Transfer the mixture into a piping bag or Ziploc with the corner cut off. Fill each of the rigatoni with the sausage mixture, making sure that the sausage extends past each end.
3. In a wide, shallow pot, heat a few tablespoons of olive oil and sweat the onions and garlic until the garlic smells sweet, approximately 4 to 6 minutes. Add the halved tomatoes to the pan and cook until most of the liquid is gone.
4. Add the stuffed rigatoni, butter and reserved pasta water. Gently shake the pan and cover with a lid, lowering the heat until the water is just simmering. After 2 minutes, remove the lid and continue to cook until most of the water is gone.
5. Add the rapini, anchovies and a little Parmesan to the pot. Test one of the rigatoni to make sure the sausage is cooked through. Season with lemon juice , salt and pepper.
6. Divide the pasta onto 4 plates, garnish with more Parmesan and olive oil, and serve.