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Rigatoni Pasta with Red Pepper and Artichoke Heart and Pesto Flavors

The word "bruschetta" basically translates from the Italian "to toast". The purest form of bruschetta is just toasted bread soaked with olive oil, perhaps with garlic. But you will find many other toppings as well. "Pesto" which derives from the Italian "to pound" is classically basil ground up with cheese and pine nuts. However there all all kinds of variations.

If you have a toasted bread style topping and you put it on pasta, is it Bruschetta or is it Pesto? Does it really matter?

Which brings us to products from Cucina & Amore. Among other things they have a nice variety of jarred delicacies and whether you call it bruschetta or pesto, they'd all be great on toast or pasta and then some. Their Red Pepper and Artichoke bruschetta combines artichoke hearts and meaty piquillo red peppers (they're like a small intensely flavored red bell and are not 'hot' peppers). We took a jar, mixed it with some 'pesto' flavors and had a delicious meal that didn't take much more time than it took to cook up the pasta.


Rigatoni Pasta with Red Pepper and Artichoke Heart and Pesto Flavors

12 oz. Rigatoni

1 - 2 TB Olive Oil (as desired)

1 medium red onion, finely diced

2 cloves garlic (or more if you like!), finely chopped

1 TB tomato paste

1 jar Cucina & Amore Red Pepper and Artichoke Bruschetta

1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, torn

a grinding of fresh black pepper

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (or more to taste)

1/4 cup toasted pine nuts

Crushed red pepper flakes, optional, to taste

Kosher Salt to taste.

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the rigatoni and cook until al dente. Pastas vary but most packages will give you a time frame. Drain the pasta, reserving the cooking water.

While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a large frying pan. When hot add the red onion and garlic and saute until soft but not brown, a couple of minutes. Mix in the tomato paste, then mix in the Bruschetta. Mix in the basil.

Add the cooked pasta to the frying pan and mix to coat all of the pasta. If it is a bit too dry, add a little of the hot water from the pasta pot.

We always (carefully) heat our plates. It keeps the pasta warm longer. Divide onto the plates, topping with pine nuts, cheese, optional red pepper flakes, and optional salt.

Serves 2 to 4 persons depending on use and appetite....We paired our meal with a quickly thrown together salad of crisp iceberg, sliced black olives, sliced pepperoncini, chopped red onion, a little Parmigiano-Reggiano, olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt and black pepper....

WINE SUGGESTION: Sangiovese or Barbera would be a great way to go.

TIP: For an almost totally effortless meal, just grab a jar of any one of the Cucina & Amore products, put it on toast or pasta, top with cheese. Perhaps open a nice bottle of red and you are good to go! Take a look around the store, we have a number of other Cucina & Amore products that will make your dinner a breeze.

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