Mezzi Rigatoni with Sun-dried Tomatoes and Ricotta Cheese in ~20 minutes

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Hey, look! It’s my first actual pasta post. It’s long overdue. I’ve gotten quite a few requests for pasta recipes. You asked for it, you’re gonna get it. I will bombard you all with a ton of (healthy) pasta recipes.

Pasta’s a staple in all college kitchens(please refer to my list of staple pantry items). Ditch the spaghetti once in a while. It’s not difficult to toss some cheese and vegetables with pasta — it’s really a matter of using a few excellent ingredients to let the ingredients shine. I came up with this recipe when I wanted to get rid of the ricotta cheese in my fridge by dolloping it on something. Well, that something just happened to be mezzi rigatoni, which is a short tube of pasta that is just perfect to stab with a fork. Each fresh dollop of ricotta adds a cold creamy coolness …it’ll forever make you consider using ricotta instead of Parmesan as a garnish.

Click here for the recipe for ‘Mezzi Rigatoni with Sun-dried Tomatoes and Ricotta Cheese’

I also had a ton of sun-dried tomatoes. (yup, I definitely have way too many dried tomatoes after I made too many dang oven-dried tomatoes recently. luckily, they store well) Basil was also on hand, and I thought, hell, let’s deconstruct the sun-dried tomato pesto and make a pasta dish out of it. Of course, if you have left-over chicken, spinach, walnuts, Parmesan cheese, or even peas, toss them all in this versatile dish.

The twist to this pasta dish is the light white wine sauce that coats each bite of pasta. The absolute worst thing you can do with pasta is not give it enough flavor or sauce. Goodness. How many dry pasta dishes have we all had? Well, enough is enough. I’ll show you how to make a simple light sauce that knocks the boredom out of pasta dishes.

Check it, dude. Here’s what you need:

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Any small stabbable (sp?) pasta like mezzi rigatoni, sun-dried tomatoes, tons of fresh basil leaves, butter, flour, garlic, and ricotta. Don’t forget the ricotta! It’s m-a-n-d-a-t-o-r-y.

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Dump 1/2 a box of mezzi rigatoni (1/2 a pound) to a pot of boiling water that has been lightly salted. When I say lightly salted, I mean about 1-2 tablespoons of salt. This amount of pasta will make 4 servings.

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la da da .. da. da. I hate waiting for pasta to cook. So, let’s get started on the sauce. Get 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter and 1 tablespoon of flour, and throw the two in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Ahem, excuse the large heap of butter. I realize that is not 1 tablespoon. Do as I say, not as I do.

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Mix it all around! Let the flour and butter cook for, like, 30 seconds.

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Now add some broth to the skillet. I am using chicken broth. You can totally add vegetable broth.

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Add some white wine. My favorite. Goodness, does that look like a waterfall of white wine, or what? Can you even imagine?

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Chop up some garlic cloves, please.

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Throw it in the sauce.

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Add some crushed red chili flakes. Oh, don’t be shy. But, omit it if you must…

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Add some salt. Now remember your pasta is cookin’ in salted water, so don’t go too crazy here. Taste the sauce for seasoning.

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Add some pepper, too. Salt ‘n peppa are inseparable.

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The sauce will look like this after 2-3 minutes. If it’s too thick, here’s what you do:

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So after 8 minutes of cooking, your pasta is pretty dang al dente. I want you to reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking liquid, and then drain the pasta.

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Now dump the drained pasta immediately into the sauce. If it’s too thick, here’s where you add the pasta cooking liquid you reserved. Start with 1/4 cup, and if that’s not enough, go up to 1/2 but no more. I need you to stir the pasta around and let the pasta absorb the sauce and continue cooking. The sauce may look too thin, but trust me, the starch in the pasta will thicken the sauce just perfectly. So just stir the pasta around occasionally for 2-3 minutes ’til the sauce has been absorbed, the pasta is cooked, and all is good in life.

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Chop up some a lot of basil.

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Chop up the sun-dried tomatoes, too. Do they look familiar? I hope they do, I made them last week =D

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Now after your pasta has soaked up all that delicious white wine sauce, dump in the sun-dried tomatoes and basil.

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Plop a serving on a lucky plate.

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We. Aren’t. Done! Dollop some cold, creamy ricotta cheese on top. A few spoonfuls here and there. Ya know… til it looks satisfying enough to devour immédiatement.

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Did this dish really just take that fast? Holy cow. Try it. Let me know how it goes.

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