What’s for dinner: Rigatoni with Spicy Pork Ragu

RigatoniwithSpicyPorkRaguPhoto of Rigatoni with Spicy Calabrese-Style Pork Ragu by Ditte Isager for Bon Appétit.
Click on the image (or here) to go to the recipe on the magazine’s website.

I finally gave in and had pasta.

Not that pasta’s bad … but now that I’m accounting for every bite, it isn’t a particularly good option, either, compared with the lean, healthy choices I’m supposed to be eating. Especially when it’s … 890 calories a serving.

Well, if I had followed the instructions, that would have been the caloric damage. I lightened things up significantly — starting with apple chicken sausage instead of spicy Italian sausage, and a pound of ground turkey instead of ground pork. So, technically, I made not spicy pork ragu but spicy poultry ragu, but whatever. It was still tasty … but since I ate all my vegetables first (delicious roasted cubes of butternut squash and beets), I only finished half of a serving, put the rest in the refrigerator for lunch tomorrow, and froze the rest of the sauce for later use

Cost of ingredients: About $17, which included the sausage, ground turkey, peeled whole tomatoes, carrots, celery, onion and bulk whole-wheat pasta.

Substitutions: The sausage and ground turkey, of course. I also doubled the carrots and celery, and added two red peppers to the chopped veggies during the food-processing stage. And while the sauce simmered, I tossed in half a clamshell package of baby kale, deciding that I might as well sneak some extra vitamins in there. And at the end, I sprinkled about 1½ tablespoons of Parmesan cheese atop my single serving, instead of ¾ cup over the whole thing. (Cheese never reheats well, does it?)

As easy as they said? Easy, yes, but it was another recipe that required first creating the sauce, then simmering for four hours. Repeating a theme, I ended up eating cereal last night while the “dinner” cooked until 10 p.m. — although I did get to enjoy it tonight as soon as the pasta was boiled, so there’s that.

How’d THAT go over? It was OK — and I think most of the “eh” lies on my shoulders for switching out the meats for less-fatty (but less-flavorful) options.

Would I make it again? Doubtful. (And after all that time I spent slavering over the cover photo!) As an aside, I was skeeved out by the amount of oil that was floating around in the pan, so I consider it a happy coincidence that after a night in the refrigerator I could spoon off the now-solidified drippings and enjoy a leaner dish.

WHAT SAM WORE: 02-25-13
shirt022513 pants022513 cole haan madison
The shirt: Cotton and cashmere pullover sweater by Penguin,
liberated from Mr. Brooks’ closet.
The pants: Corduroy jeans, from Uniqlo in New York.
The shoes: Leather “Madison” oxfords by Cole-Haan, from Nordstrom Rack.

4 responses to “What’s for dinner: Rigatoni with Spicy Pork Ragu

  1. Honey, unless it said “spicy, pork like” chicken sausage, you were doomed. Get some spicy italian sausage and take the sauce out of the freezer. Saute the sausage with a couple of smashed garlic cloves and pour the sauce over it. I think the turkey stuff is probably fine. (Pork is the food of the Gods. There is no substitute.

  2. Looks soooo much better than the bow tie pasta on flight 35¡¡¡¡¡

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