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Rigatoni with Summer Squash, Spicy Sausage & Goat Cheese

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Serves 4-6

  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 86

Spicy sausage paired with summer squash gives this quick pasta dish a mild kick, and the goat cheese brings the flavors of the pasta together while adding its own rich nuance.

  • Kosher salt
  • 1 lb. dried rigatoni
  • 3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 lb. bulk hot Italian sausage (or links, casings removed)
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped shallots (about 3 medium)
  • 2 cups 3/4-inch-diced yellow and green summer squash
  • 3 oz. fresh goat cheese, crumbled (about 3/4 cup)
  • 2 tsp. finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (optional)

Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil over high heat. Put the rigatoni in the boiling water and cook until just shy of al dente, about 10 minutes.

While the pasta cooks, heat 1/2 Tbs. of the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook, breaking it into pieces with a spatula or spoon, until it's almost cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the sausage to a bowl. Pour the fat out of the skillet but do not wipe it clean. Heat the remaining 2-1/2 Tbs. oil in the skillet over medium heat and cook the shallots until they begin to soften, about 1 minute. Raise the heat to medium high and add the squash. Cook, stirring frequently, until the squash is barely tender, 3 to 5 minutes.

Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta-cooking water and drain the rigatoni. Return the rigatoni to its cooking pot and add the sausage, the squash mixture, and 2 Tbs. of the reserved pasta water. Toss over medium heat until the sausage is cooked through and the rigatoni is perfectly al dente, about 3 minutes. Add more of the pasta water as necessary to keep the dish moist.

Remove from the heat, add the goat cheese and parsley, and toss until the cheese melts and coats the pasta. Season to taste with salt and pepper, transfer to warm shallow bowls, and top each serving with some of the grated Parmigiano, if using.

Serving Suggestions

Serve with simple Bruschetta with Herbed Tomatoes as a starter.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : based on six servings; Calories (kcal): 500; Fat (g): fat g 19; Fat Calories (kcal): 170; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 6; Protein (g): protein g 19; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 9; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 61; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 2; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 760; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 25; Fiber (g): fiber g 3;

Photo: Scott Phillips

My friends and I liked this recipe but it needed a little more flavor - maybe adding some herbs when cooking the squash. We added a bit more goat cheese, and next time would use 1 lb. of spicy sausage instead of 3/4. It's worth keeping - good with sauvignon blanc.

Prepared as written except I used chicken sausage, this was a relatively quick and tasty supper.

Yummy! Did make a few changes: used 1.25 lbs sausage-1/2 sweet and 1/2 spicy, 4 oz goat cheese, added 1/2 large red bell pepper sliced in thin strips. Cooked down 1/2 cup of white wine with the shallots and added some more wine to my pasta water (used bit more water/wine than indicated in recipe). Everybody in family loved this dish--very tasty, not dry. Add a salad and you're done. Will definitely add to summer rotation when the squash comes in! P.S. had the parmagiano-reggiano on hand but forgot to use it--family didn't ask for it either--was fine without but will try to remember next time.

This is one of my favorite summer recipes when my zucchini plants are in full swing. It's important to follow the recipe in the proportions it recommends for the most perfect taste sensation. I once made the error of increasing the goat cheese or the spicy sausage because I didn't want to waste anything . . . big mistake. It tastes perfect just the way it's written!

I loved this recipe. Not only was it simple and quick, it tasted fabulous. Definetly need really spicy sausage!. In the summer when everyone is up to their eyeballs in squash, it will be a staple!

The key to this recipe is the right sausage. I bought a mediocre Italian sausage and it ruined the dish, otherwise, I think it would have been really good.

This recipe is awesome, although we tend to use about twice as much sausage and cheese as is called for (hellllllo, heart attack!). Anyway, the dish is like a dressed up mac and cheese and is absolutely amazing...and also a good way to use up the zucchini that is quickly taking over our garden.

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