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Shepherd’s-Style Rigatoni with Ricotta and Sausage

Courtesy of Saveur Magazine

Chef Rosetta Costantino, an Italian expatriate, says that Calabrian shepherds, including her father, make this rustic pasta with fresh ricotta, sausage, and fresh herbs. Whisk ricotta with a fork and thin it with hot pasta water to turn it into a sauce; grooved rigatoni help the sauce stick to the pasta.


Kosher salt, to taste

1 lb. rigatoni

1 lb. hot Italian sausage, removed from casing

2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1 lb. cows' milk or sheep's milk ricotta

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste 

2 tbsp. roughly chopped parsley

1/4 cup torn basil leaves

1/2 cup grated pecorino cheese, to garnish


Bring 5 quarts lightly salted water to a boil in an 8-quart pot over high heat. Add the pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente, about 12 minutes. Ladle out and reserve 1 cup pasta water. Drain and reserve pasta.

Meanwhile, break the sausage into small, olive-size chunks. Heat the olive oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook, stirring occasionally, until brown and cooked through, about 10 minutes. Discard grease and set sausage aside in skillet.Put the ricotta into a large bowl. Add pepper, to taste. Whisk 1/4 cup of the hot pasta water into the ricotta to make it creamy and saucy. Over high heat, add the pasta to the skillet with the sausage and 1/2 cup pasta water; stir vigorously to combine.

Transfer the pasta and sausage to the bowl with the ricotta and mix well, adding some of the reserved pasta cooking water as needed to moisten the pasta. Stir in parsley and basil. Spoon the pasta into bowls and sprinkle with the pecorino and black pepper.

SERVES 4 – 6


Community Grains Hard White Winter Wheat Rigatoni


Rigatoni means “ruled or furrowed” in Italian and refers to the grooves along their outer sides. Pigmentation in wheat directly correlates to astringency. Because White Winter wheat lacks some of the pigmentation in its bran layer, it is lighter in both color and flavor. A popular variety and strong performer in California, Blanca Cuerte Hard White Winter wheat has all of the depth and complexity of flavor as Hard Red Winter wheat but with a slightly less pronounced “wheat flavor”. It pairs well with vegetable accompaniments such as primavera or a fresh tomato and basil sauce.

About the Producer:

Working with local farmers, millers, and bakers, Community Grains is helping re-establish a local grain economy in northern California. This dynamic company is pioneering new standards of quality, transparency and integrity in artisanal legumes and whole grain foods. They continue to maintain and forge new relationships with farmers in California expanding their community—and creating delicious food.

Their exceptional whole wheat pastas are made from locally farmed, uniquely milled heirloom grains. Unlike conventionally milled whole grain flour, 100% of the germ, bran and endosperm are retained, resulting in a truly “whole wheat” product with spectacular flavor and texture. Beyond mere “farm to table” relevance, this is pasta with a culinary pedigree. Both as a food community model as well as a superb grocery product, it just plain makes sense – and tastes extraordinary.

Interested in hearing more about Community Grains projects and news? Sign up for their newsletter here.

14 ounces
United States
Community Grains
$7.00 (Currently Sold Out)


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