Roasted Guajillo Rigatoni with Olives

This week is going to be one of those weeks where I work about as many hours as my eyes are open. In fact, when I post this tonight, I will say goodbye to writing for pleasure and hello to grant writing. It will all be over this Friday when the grant is due. But, like Scarlett, I’m not gonna think about that now.

This past weekend, Nathan and I somehow ended up feasting on steak and pasta. It was almost an accident except that I remember purposely buying the ingredients at the grocery store.

This pasta dish is one of my absolute favorites. It is a recipe that Nathan adapted from a Rick Bayless recipe. If you like Mexican food and you haven’t checked out Rick Bayless you really should. It’s hard to sum up his career so I’m just gonna say a couple of things about him. He’s a native Oklahoman and if you follow him on Twitter, you will learn a lot! Oh, and he has some amazing cookbooks. And, if you are in Chicago, you should look up his restaurants. I’m hoping to do just that this summer.

A year or so back, Nathan ordered several Rick Bayless DVDs of his PBS television show, Mexico – One Plate at a Time.  I was happy to watch the shows, but we decided to watch them while we were on the elliptical. So, each morning, I walked on the elliptical, watched the Rick Bayless DVD and then spent the rest of the day dreaming about tacos or whatever amazing thing he was cooking. Let’s just say it was a little counter-productive.

I had to give it up.

The elliptical, I mean. Not the Rick Bayless DVDs.

Just kidding. That stupid elliptical is still here taunting me each and every day.

This dish is great as a main course or as a side dish.

Roasted Guajillo Rigatoni with Olives


6 Dried Guajillo Chile Pods

2-3 cups water

1- 141/2 ounce can of fire roasted diced tomatoes (drained)

6 cloves of garlic peeled

¼ red onion coarsely chopped and rinsed

1 cup pitted Calamata olives

1 cup Cotija cheese (crumbled)

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

½ teaspoon sea salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon high quality olive oil

1 cup chopped fresh spinach

16 ounces rigatoni pasta

Remove Seeds and stems from the Chile Pods and toast in the oven at 350 degrees for 2-3 minutes or until lightly toasted. Over –toasting will cause the chiles to become bitter. You are looking for a fragrant and lightly-toasted state.

Place toasted chiles in a bowl and add steaming hot water to cover. Chiles will float, so weight them with a plate or small bowl. Allow them to soak for about 15 minutes or until soft.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. While chiles are soaking, peel six cloves of garlic and sprinkle with two teaspoons of olive oil. Roast the garlic on a baking sheet for 15 minutes.

Add chiles and ½ cup of soaking liquid to a blender and puree until smooth.  Add roasted garlic and drained tomatoes to the puree. Add 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, ½ teaspoon sea salt, ½ teaspoon sea salt and 1 tablespoon high quality olive oil. Pulse to combine all ingredients.

Cook 16 ounces of rigatoni pasta according to package directions. Add onion, spinach, olives, cheese and 1 ½ cup of sauce to the pasta. Mix together all ingredients.

You will have leftover sauce to freeze so you can make this pasta again. Isn’t that a nice surprise?



Filed under In the Kitchen

2 responses to “Roasted Guajillo Rigatoni with Olives

  1. Gail Woolsey

    that looks great. But half of stuff we coiuldn’t even purchase in this part of the country.

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