Warm up on this cold day with delicious spicy pesto rigatoni!


2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 shallot chopped
3/4 pound ground spicy Italian chicken sausage
4 cloves garlic, minced or grated
2 (28 ounce) cans crushed San Marzano tomatoes
1/2 cup vodka (chicken broth or water also work)
3/4 cup basil pesto homemade or store-bought
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried rosemary plus fresh rosemary for serving
kosher salt and pepper
1 pound dry rigatoni pasta
2 cups shredded kale
2 cups shredded fontina cheese
8 ounces mozzarella, torn


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over high heat. When the oil shimmers, add the shallot and cook until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add the chicken sausage and brown all over, about 5 to 8 minutes. Stir in the garlic, cook another minute. Slowly add the tomatoes, vodka, 1/2 cup pesto, oregano, rosemary, and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Then add 2 1/2 cups water, the pasta, and kale. Increase the heat to medium-high. Bring the mixture to a boil. Stir frequently until the pasta is al dente, about 8-10 minutes.

If needed, transfer the pasta to a baking dish. Top with the fontina cheese, then drizzle the remaining 1/4 cup basil pesto evenly over everything. Add the mozzarella.

Transfer the baking dish to the oven and bake 20-25 minutes or until the cheese has melted and is lightly browned on top. Cool 5 minutes before serving. Serve with fresh rosemary. Enjoy!