Currently, I’m in the thick of the busiest time of the year, for both business and family life.

Head down, nose to the grind, focused on family and things that pay the bills, declining personal and work invitations every day with “see you next year!” half joking signatures.

I’m exhausted. Happy, but exhausted.

So it’s during this time when I find myself drawn more and more to comfort food. Those rich, hearty dishes that fill you up with warmth from the inside out.


Pasta is my favorite comfort food.

I would eat pasta for lunch and dinner, at least four times a week, if I could. Pasta is versatile, and just goes with everything. It’s great in vegan dishes, vegetarian dishes, seafood, and meat recipes.

I. Love. Pasta!!

Lately, I’ve been trying to cut back and do more zoodles when I want pasta. Zoodles are awesome! I can’t wait to share some zoodles recipes with you all!

But, let’s be honest: it’s not the same. Zoodles are not a true replacement for pasta. Grain-free, dairy-free pasta like my favorite Cappello’s pasta is an amazing replacement for pasta.

Zoodles? They’re cooked veggies, and they’re delicious, but there’s no getting around what they are and accepting them as such.

Okay, now that I got that out of my system, let’s talk about this Easy, Hearty Rigatoni with Italian Sausage.

It’s the pasta I reach for when I want really delicious, comforting, satisfying, oh so decadent pasta.

This dish is a nice twist on the traditional spaghetti and meat sauce. I love rigatoni because it acts like a sauce vessel that cradles the rich tomato meat sauce. It’s so good. Not too spicy, doesn’t have any “weird” ingredients the kids might balk at – it’s just delicious comfort food at its best.

This is one of my absolute favorite easy and filling family dinner recipes.

I hope you try it and love it, too!

Easy, Hearty Rigatoni with Italian Sausage


  • 1/2 pound uncooked rigatoni
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 pound Italian sausage with casing removed
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup beef broth or red wine
  • 1 can petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 8-ounce can tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped basil
  • parmesan cheese or grated non-dairy cheese (optional)


  1. Cook pasta according to package directions.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  3. Add garlic and onions, and sauté for about 2 minutes, just until the onions are translucent.
  4. Add ground sausage to skillet and stir until fully cooked, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add beef broth or wine and scrap browned sausage bits off the bottom of the skillet.
  6. Add tomatoes and tomato paste, stir all ingredients well, turn heat down to low-medium and simmer for at least 10 minutes.
  7. Add cooked pasta and 1/4 cup reserved pasta water to the skillet and stir all ingredients until the pasta is coated with the sauce. If needed, add more reserve water to create a sauce consistency to your liking.
  8. Remove from heat. Sprinkle parsley and/or cheese just before serving.

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