Rigatoni with Sausage, Cannellini Bean,

and Swiss Chard

rigatoni with sausage, cannellini bean, and swiss chard ragu copy.jpg

Because it’s so big and toothsome, rigatoni seems to demand a hearty, wintry sauce like this one. It’s just the kind of comforting one-dish meal you want on a cold night.

Serves 4 to 6

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 pounds Italian sausage (spicy or sweet), casings removed
1 28-ounce can of chopped tomatoes (with their juices)
2 cups chicken broth
Kosher salt
8 ounces rigatoni
1 bunch Swiss chard, washed, drained, and roughly chopped
12 fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
1 15-ounce can cannellini beans or navy beans (about 2 cups), rinsed and drained
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for passing at the table

1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook and stir for 3 to 4 minutes, until tender and translucent. Add the garlic and sauté for about 1 minute, without browning. Add the sausage and break it up into small pieces. Cook and stir the sausage for about 5 minutes, until it’s light brown. Drain the grease from the pan. Add the tomatoes with their juice and the chicken broth. Reduce the heat to low, and simmer the sauce for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2. Meanwhile bring a large pot of water to a boil and add salt. Stir in the rigatoni and cook until al dente, 7 to 8 minutes or according to the package instructions.

3. Reserve a cupful of the pasta cooking water, then drain the pasta, and add it to the skillet with the tomato sauce. Add the chard, basil, oregano, beans, and enough of the reserved water to make the pasta slippery. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until the beans are warmed through and the chard is wilted. Season the pasta with salt and pepper, if desired and serve warm, with the Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top and more to pass at the table.