• Karine Wlasichuk

Rigatoni-Sausage Casserole with a Green Addition

Not kale. It's not kale. I feel like I need a disclaimer for this as I have seriously been abusing the topic lately.

I made this casserole a few weeks ago, but now that we are living in weird times (a fill-up-your-freezer era where people believe the government will somehow take all their food away from them), I figured this is a perfect time to show you a freezer-friendly meal. I understand I have to work on my sarcasm, if you want to pack your freezer for the year go for it. It's never been a bad idea, truly. But don't come at me with a toilet paper speech. Next.

This meal was inspired by a recipe I found online, Baked Rigatoni with Sausage by Giada de Laurentiis , in which I changed a few ingredients to make it healthier! Instead of the suggested serving, I added zucchini and went 1:1 on the sausage and green ratio (the original serving suggestion was a full pound of meat, which I find to be a bit much). Now, let me take you on a long tangent.

I remember when I was studying geopolitics (what feels like 8 years ago, more like 3 or so), I read this scholarly article on nuclear weapons and out of its 30 something pages, 3 words stuck with me 'proliferation begets proliferation'. Although this article discussed one of the world's scariest, most globally tested issues, I'd like to apply its core message here today, to pasta. The more pasta you make, the more you will eat (not a bad thing in my opinion). You are inclined to do so, by the amount that you produce. Just like states' motivation to build nuclear weapons increases as they hear of their neighbours doing the same. Funny enough, I work in an international security company today so everything came full circle with my studies- not a bad feeling! Would I rather stay home, play with our baby and cook? Why, yes. But this one accumulated debts during school. Moving on!

A good read by the way, 'Why do States Build Nuclear Weapons?' by SD Sagan, 1996. Now, back to our regular program. Carbs and cheese.

You will need,

Sausages (2, casings removed, shredded)

Zucchinis (2, chopped)

Garlic (2 cloves, minced)

Shallots (2, thinly sliced)

Mozzarella (2 cups, shredded)

Parm (1 cup)

Crushed tomatoes (1 can, 800 ml)

1 pasta sauce jar (I used 3/4 of it)

Rigatoni (500g, one bag)

Olive oil (an obscene amount)

A few steps,

1. In a medium-sized skillet over medium heat, toss zucchinis, shallots and garlic in olive oil for 7-10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and stir continuously.

2. Add the sausage, breaking it apart with the back of your spoon as your are stirring for 5-7 minutes. Lower heat.

3. Add crushed tomatoes and keep stirring. Slowly add the tomato sauce and salt. While stirring occasionally, let simmer for another 10 minutes.

4. In a large salt water pot, cook rigatoni according to package instructions. Drain and immediately add to the tomato mix.

5. Add 1 cup of mozzarella and 1/2 cup of the Parmesan and keep stirring until it is fully combined. Remove from heat.

6. Pour the mixture into a lightly oiled baking dish and sprinkle with the rest of the Parmesan and mozzarella.

7. Place in the oven at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Most recipes will tell you not to cover it, but I do so for half of the cooking time. Enjoy the warmth of the flavours!

Okay you get it, I like melted cheese.