'Barefoot Contessa': Ina Garten's Rigatoni With Sausage Is the Easiest Italian Dinner

Ina Garten has graced our televisions with her Barefoot Contessa show since 2003. Since then, Garten has developed thousands of recipes for anyone from novice cooks to professional chefs. The New York native often focuses on easy, quick meals with plenty of flavor and few complex instructions. And her rigatoni with sausage recipe is a versatile Italian dinner for a weeknight or a special occasion.

‘Barefoot Contessa’ star Ina Garten has created countless recipes for her cookbooks and TV show

When Garten was young, she wasn’t planning to become a chef. The Food Network star married her husband. Jeffrey Garten, in 1968, and the two moved to Washington, D.C. for work. From there, Garten decided she wanted more in life, so she and Jeffrey purchased a specialty foods store in East Hampton, New York, on a whim in 1978.

Garten owned the store for nearly two decades before selling it in 1996. From there, she started writing cookbooks — today, she’s written a dozen books. And in 2003, Garten’s Barefoot Contessa premiered. Since then, she’s developed thousands of doable recipes for fans.

How to make Ina Garten’s rigatoni with sausage and fennel

3 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups chopped fennel
1 1/2 cups yellow onion, chopped
1 1/4 pounds sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon whole fennel seeds, crushed
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup heavy cream
2/3 cup half-and-half
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 pound rigatoni
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan

In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add fennel and onion. Sauté 7 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add sausage to the pan and crumble with a fork while it cooks; about 7 or 8 minutes or until browned. Add garlic, fennel seeds, and red pepper flakes. Season with 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon black pepper; let simmer 1 minute. Add wine and bring sauce to a boil. Then, add heavy cream, half-and-half, and tomato paste. Boil once more before lowering the heat; simmer 20 minutes.

Cook rigatoni in salted water according to package instructions. Drain pasta, then add to pan and toss to coat. Heat pasta with sauce for an additional 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add parsley and 1/2 cup of Parmesan. Serve pasta in bowls with remaining Parmesan on the side.

Ina Garten doesn’t actually film the show at her house

Though Garten loves her East Hampton home, filming in the same place where she lived just wasn’t working for her. Several years ago, Garten and her husband built a massive barn toward the back of their property, which is where Garten now films her popular show.

The building is complete with not only a test kitchen but also indoor and outdoor dining areas for filming. Plus, the barn serves as a guest house with a bedroom and bathroom.

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