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Rigatoni with Sausage, Beans, and Greens

 

Our favorite and best method of making pasta—the same one the pros use in restaurants—is one in which the pasta finishes cooking in a glossy sauce made by emulsifying cheese into the pasta cooking liquid. It’s so easy and good it might change your life (or if not your entire life, then definitely your weeknight pasta game).

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Ingredients

4 SERVINGS

3

tablespoons (or more) kosher salt

3

links sweet Italian sausage

1

15-ounce can cannellini (white kidney) beans

1

bunch of Tuscan kale, rinsed

1

2-ounce chunk of Parmesan

3

tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

12

ounces rigatoni pasta

½

teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

2

tablespoons unsalted butter

1

lemon

Steps

1.

The first thing you want to do is get your pasta water boiling. Fill a large pot (preferably around 8 quarts) with approximately 6 quarts water, then put it over high heat. When you see wisps of steam, add 3 Tbsp. salt, stir once, and cover the pot. This will make it boil faster. Yes, it’s A LOT of salt, but as the pasta cooks, it absorbs the salty water, ensuring the pasta is seasoned from the inside out. You end up dumping most of the salt anyway when you drain the water.

→ How to know which pasta shapes to use when

2.

While the water comes to a boil, prep your other ingredients. Remove 3 links sausage from its casings and set aside. Dump 1 can beans into a strainer or colander and rinse well. Shake off excess water. Turn out beans onto a couple of sheets of paper towel and pat dry with a few more paper towels. Strip kale leaves off the thick woody ribs and tear into small pieces; discard ribs. Finely grate 2 oz. Parmesan using the small holes of a box grater. Set aside about ½ cup cheese for garnishing.

3.

Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a large Dutch oven or large skillet, preferably with straight sides, over medium-high. It’s best to use a vessel with high sides, because you’re about to do a lot of tossing and flinging when the pasta goes in, and this will minimize spillage. Add sausage and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon and stirring occasionally, until meat is browned, crispy in places, and cooked through, 8–10 minutes. Transfer with a spider or slotted spoon to a plate. Remove pot from heat and set aside.

4.

Pour 12 oz. pasta into water and stir once. Set timer for 3 minutes less than the package advises. You’re going to cook it well shy of al dente.

5.

While pasta is cooking, return pot to medium-low heat and add beans and ½ tsp. red pepper flakes. Cook, tossing occasionally and mashing some beans with spoon, until browned in spots, about 5 minutes. Transfer about half of beans to plate with sausage.

6.

Using a ladle or liquid measuring cup, add about 1 cup cooking liquid from pasta into pot with beans (reserve remaining liquid). Increase heat to medium-high.

7.

Using spider or a slotted spoon, transfer pasta to pot with beans and add kale. Toss vigorously with tongs to move the pasta around to incorporate the kale as it wilts.

→ The 5 easy steps to glossy, silky, restaurant-y pasta are right here!

8.

Continue to cook, tossing often, until kale is wilted, pasta is al dente, and water is reduced by about half, about 4 minutes. If water is reduced before pasta is al dente, add another ¼–½ cup pasta cooking liquid. Reduce heat to low.

9.

Add another ¼ cup pasta cooking liquid, then gradually add cheese, tossing all the while, until cheese is emulsified into the water and forms a luxurious, glossy sauce.

10.

Remove pot from heat and add reserved beans and sausage, then 2 Tbsp. butter, tossing, until butter is melted.

11.

Taste pasta and add more salt if needed. Cut 1 lemon in half and squeeze one half over pasta, then drizzle with remaining 1 Tbsp. oil.

12.

Divide pasta among bowls and top with reserved ½ cup cheese.


Reviews (18)

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  • I have made this twice now and it is a big hit! I tweaked it a little on the second try: 1 tbl of salt in a 6 quart pan for the pasta. I might reduce it a bit more next time. Baby kale was all I could find. I mixed it in by the handful until it looked like enough

    • ANONYMOUS

    • 02879

    • 8/4/2020

  • Used spicy chicken sausage and it was fabulous! Will make again. Quick easy and so good!

    • ANONYMOUS

    • NJ

    • 5/18/2020

  • Customized to quarantine life (thawed kale/chard, great northern beans, and hot italian sausage) and it was INCREDIBLE.

    • ANNA BROD

    • WASHINGTON DC

    • 5/13/2020

  • Just made this for dinner and it was so good! I subbed in some ingredients based on what I did and didn't already have, but mostly stuck to the recipe. I couldn't stop eating it once it was ready. It's so rich and flavorful.

    • _ELLA

    • NORTH CAROLINA

    • 5/8/2020

  • Great meal! Very tasty, very filling. Cooked recipe as written.

    • DARKNIGHT

    • MEMPHIS

    • 5/4/2020

  • Very flavorful. Filling. Loved how all the flavors came together. Will be making this again. I needed extra pasta water, but threw it away. Had homemade chicken stock used that instead and it added more flavor. I personally love garlic and decided to throw in some garlic. Delicious 🤤 not too much or overpowering but just enough to add some additional flavor. Thank you BA!

    • JESSICAOL

    • BROOKLYN, NY

    • 4/27/2020

  • Although our COVID-19 quarantine required that we make a few substitutions--the next grocery trip is a week away--this dish was excellent! I used penne instead of rigatoni because that was what was in the pantry, baby spinach instead of kale because our store has not had kale for weeks, and white Caballero beans from Rancho Gordo. I used Field Roast Italian Sausage (4 sausages) because we are vegetarian. And after all this subbing, it was still amazing! I can't wait to restock so I can make this dish correctly.

    • CHRISTINE WHITTINGTON

    • LEADVILLE, COLORADO

    • 4/26/2020

  • I only had bacon, not sausage, and used a tiny bit of fresh basil and fresh spinach which is what I had on hand. I hate writing about a recipe when I've made so many changes but I'm only doing this because I was originally going to make macaroni and cheese for my husband and son. They hate my cooking. So I took about 1/4 of the pasta at the 8 minute mark (as 11 was al dente) and proceeded with the recipe. I made them their macaroni and cheese. They ended up preferring this version so I combined both of them together and they said, "you HAVE to make this again."

    • LOS ANGELES

    • 4/26/2020

  • I love love this recipe. I've made it a bunch of times now. It's so good. I only use 1-2 tblspns salt in the water and I use swiss chard from my garden instead of kale. I also use 4 links fennel sausage and an entire pound of rigatoni because I don't know where you guy your pasta from but packages usually come in 8 oz or 16. LOL. I also add 1 tablespoon or so tomato paste to the beans as another reviewer did and I also use 4-5 cloves of garlic because I hafta have it. :) Winner winner pasta dinner.

    • ANONYMOUS

    • PALM HARBOR, FL

    • 4/24/2020

  • This was quite good, but too salty! I’ll make it again,but without so much salt in water.

    • NEW YORK STATE

    • 3/30/2020

  • Recipe is fine but please don't use those metal tongs in the enameled casserole: Scratches=rust=peeling=spend a lot of money buying a new one instead of passing it on to your kids!

    • ANONYMOUS

    • CALIFORNIA

    • 10/5/2019

  • The taste is great, but I found the canned beans to be a bit mushy. Tossing everything together only made this worse, and the emulsification of the cheese just resulted in a gluey texture.

    • GRONINGEN, NL

    • 5/2/2019

  • We love this. It is so easy to make. I usually use 4 sausages. My son isn't a veggie fan but he will eat the kale in this. The first time I didn't' do the lemon at the end (seemed a weird combo) but the next time I did it and it adds a nice splash of acidity.

    • ANONYMOUS

    • NJ

    • 1/15/2019

  • Truly one of the best recipes I've ever gotten from this site. This has become a fortnightly staple in our house. My sister couldn't believe how simple it was when I made it for her. Advice: don't forget the lemon and butter (or Melt or Earth Balance or whatever you use) at the end. Makes all the difference!

    • ANONYMOUS

    • CANADA

    • 12/4/2018

  • oh yea.... instantly added to the arsenal! so so so sos so delicious!

    • ANONYMOUS

    • OAKLAND, CA

    • 2/23/2018




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