This Italian Sausage With Over-Sized Rigatoni Tubes Smothered in a Creamy Tomato Sauce Won the Approval of my Picky Family. And My Kids Loved the Name!
Tonight we tried something new. This recipe has developed in my head using ingredients that I know my kids like and adopting attributes from several recipes. Italian Sausage and Rigatoni is the outcome, but for my kids sake, I’ve named it Sausage and Tubes.
You know those dinners where everyone at the table gives two thumbs up? It’s rare, but this was one of them. Seriously, as a mom and the cook of the household I felt like I won something. I felt like I needed to collect my trophy and give an acceptance speech. After all, it is award season, and some of us deserve recognition for doing the real life things like getting your child to eat 5 bites or maybe just licking a noodle.
I think as home cooks we tend to get stuck on the most common noodles such as spaghetti, macaroni, or thin rigatoni. Anytime I find myself in an expansive pasta aisle I look for something new. Pasta shapes like wagon wheels, alphabet, or cellentani. For this recipe using sausage and rigatoni, I used an oversized rigatoni. This was the inspiration for the tubes. These tubes are so fun and wide, that the kids could pick one up and peer through it like a spy glass. Yes, I do promote playing with your food as long as you eat it!
The pasta sauce was semi-homemade. Using a jar of marinara, I spruced it up with sauteed garlic and onion, red wine, and heavy cream. It made a orange colored sauce that again was a departure from the spaghetti sauce we are used to.
Last, the sausage was sweet Italian turkey sausage by Jennie-O, cooked whole and sliced into bite-sized pieces. My kids are sausage-holics, so anytime I can lean it up with a less fatty version I’ll take it.
The kids food can get to be a bit adult-unfriendly at times, especially when I am trying to watch my carbohydrate intake. With this sausage and rigatoni recipe, I made zoodles (zucchini noodles) for the hubby and I. I used my Paderno, also known as the best spiralizer out there. I love how easy it is to use and clean.
Sausage & Tubes (AKA Italian Sausage & Rigatoni
- 1 lb oversized rigatoni
- 1 lb sweet Italian turkey sausage in casings (I used Jennie-O brand)
- 16 oz marinara (I used Newman’s Own)
- 1 c heavy cream
- 1/2 c red wine
- 2 large cloves garlic minced
- 1 small onion chopped fine
- 1 tbsp dried basil
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- pinch red pepper flakes
- salt and pepper to taste
- Parmesan cheese freshly grated
- In a medium frying pan, add 1 tbsp olive oil and cook sausage, covered, over medium heat, turning frequently for 15 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F.
- In a large saucepan, saute garlic and onion until tender, about 1-2 minutes. Add marinara, wine, and basil. Cover and simmer 5-7 minutes.
- While the sausage cooks and the sauce simmers, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta al dente.
- Cut the cooked sausage into bite-sized pieces and add to the marinara sauce.
- Add cream, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper to the sauce. Simmer for 5 minutes. Serve immediately over pasta and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.