Sunday Brunch: Rigatoni with Easy Pan Sauce

WGN Weekend Morning News

Photojournalist Mike D’Angelo joins WGN Weekend Morning News in studio to share his recipe for Rigatoni Pasta with Easy Pan Sauce.


  • 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tsp. Kosher salt, 2 tbsp water
  • .5 tsp black pepper
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 5 fresh basil leaves
  • 2 tbsp. oil for cooking plus more for finishing
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan or Pecorina Romano cheese, more for serving
  • 1 lb. dried Rigatoni pasta


  • Fill a pot with 4 quarts of water and boil on medium to high heat.
  • While water boils, heat oil on medium to low heat for two minutes.
  • Roughly chop garlic while oil heats, then add to oil.
  • Lightly sauté garlic until soft, 3 to 5 minutes. Don’t let it brown too fast.
  • Once garlic softens, add tomatoes, salt, pepper, sugar and basil. Lightly tear basil to expose more of their flavor.
  • Carefully stir all ingredients together.
  • Cook for 5 minutes then reduce heat to low.
  • Cover and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Once water boils, add about 2 tbsp. of salt to water and lightly stir.
  • Adding salt seasons the pasta via the water.
  • Add Rigatoni and cook about 8 to 11 minutes, depending on box directions.
  • After about 5 to 7 minutes, use a strainer and scoop out one piece. There should be a slight chew and crunch with a thin white ring inside.
  • Stay at this tasting technique a few more times until the consistency is achieved. Drain pasta and save cup of water.
  • This is starchy, salty, flavorful stuff that will help thin the sauce or give a boost to leftovers. Add strained pasta back to pot.
  • Do not rinse pasta, it will remove flavor and texture.
  • Stir sauce and taste for flavor, ladle sauce over pasta. Lightly stir without breaking Rigatoni. Sprinkle half of cheese and stir to incorporate. Drizzle olive oil on top for flavor.

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