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<p>Photo Credit: Geoffrey Smith</p><p>Photo Courtesy: Ethan Stowell Restaurants</p>

Cooking In: Easy Sausage Rigatoni at home, courtesy of Ethan Stowell

During these crazy times, making a home-cooked meal can be cathartic. But if you're like me, you can find yourself in a rut, making the same things over and over again. That's why I enlisted the help of my chef friends from all over the Seattle area, getting each one to send me an easy-to-follow recipe folks can make at home using pantry staples or ingredients that are usually readily available at your local grocery store. It's a weekly series we're calling Cooking In. Last week we made pizza with help from Spark Pizza!

A warm bowl of pasta just might be the ultimate comfort food. Luckily, Ethan Stowell, one of Seattle's most accomplished chefs and restauranteurs, was kind enough to share his recipe for Rigatoni with Italian Sausage, Tomato Sauce and Parmigiano-Reggiano. It's the signature dish at Tavolàta; one Stowell describes as "simple" and "soul-warming."

Of course, if you're not in the mood to cook, you can pick up takeout or delivery at several of Stowell's restaurants including Tavolàta Capitol Hill, Rione XIII, Red Cow, How to Cook a Wolf, Ballard Pizza Co. and Frelard Pizza Co.

Rigatoni with Italian Sausage

What you'll need:

  • 2 cups basic tomato sauce (recipe below)
  • 3 T olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 pound rigatoni pasta
  • 1 pound Italian sausage, casings removed
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated


  1. In a sauté pan over medium heat, sauté the sausage in the olive oil until lightly browned, about 4-5 minutes
  2. Add the tomato sauce and cook for about 8-10 minutes to have the flavors blend
  3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil
  4. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions, or until just al dente
  5. When the pasta is ready, drain and tip into the pan with the sauce
  6. Season with salt and pepper and toss
  7. Divide the pasta between four bowls and garnish to taste with Parmigiano-Reggiano
  8. Serve immediately. Enjoy! (Serves 4)

Basic Tomato Sauce

What you'll need:

  • 2 (28-ounce) cans whole, peeled San Marzano tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 8 to 10 fresh basil leaves, depending on size
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper


  1. Put the tomatoes in a deep bowl and crush them with your fingers
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and sauté the garlic until tender but not browned, 2-3 minutes
  3. Add the tomatoes and basil leaves
  4. Cook over medium-low heat for 30 to 40 minutes
  5. Season lightly with salt and pepper
  6. Use an immersion blender, if you have one, or pulse in a food processor to create a rough purée with some texture
  7. The sauce keeps, covered, in the fridge for up to 3 days and freezes well (makes six to seven cups)