Rigatoni…I’ve missed you.

24 Oct

For pretty much all of my childhood, we packed up the car and headed to my grandparents house every other Sunday after church. We’d spend the day with all the relatives and then sit down for a delicious Italian dinner together.

Most times, it was rigatoni. My grandpa would pile it into the hugest serving bowl you’ve ever seen. As a small child, I’d have sworn it was two feet wide! He would fill it with big, fat rigatoni noodles and top it with his homemade pasta sauce and jumbo meatballs. Oh, man, my mouth is watering right now… Though we always had a salad, steamed vegetables, a relish plate and homemade bread, the rigatoni was the star of the meal. Unbelievably good.

My grandpa passed away in 1994. I honestly couldn’t even tell you the last time I ate rigatoni. For some reason, I never think to buy it when I’m at the store. A few weeks ago, I was reading a recent issue of Real Simple magazine and I saw this recipe for Rigatoni Peperonata. It is absolutely nothing like my grandpa’s sauce-covered rigatoni, but as soon as I saw the noodles in the picture, I knew I had to make it. And I’m so glad I did. It was really good. It has tons of sweet peppers and toasted pine nuts, plus a little heat from the crushed red pepper and a little saltiness from the olives and capers. I’m quite sure I could have eaten the whole bowl!

I made the recipe exactly as it was written in the magazine (recipe here). The next time I make it, I will quarter the kalamata olives rather than just cutting them in half, so that you get a bit of olive in more bites. We made this the main dish of our meal tonight, but it would also be a nice side dish. If you’re looking for a quick and comforting meatless meal, be sure to try this one. I highly recommend it. And if I ever get a copy of my grandpa’s delicious homemade pasta sauce, I will certainly share it with all of you!

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