Rigatoni Marinara with Grilled Broccolini

As I prepare to head off on vacation next week (soooo excited), I should probably try to cut back on the carbs, work out, you know....normal pre-vacation dieting. I am absolutely unable to say no to bread, pasta and cheese. I can't even pretend I try to cut those out of my diet. So I don't. Which leads me to my dinner I made last night. I was craving, strangely, one of two things. A giant bowl of pasta or a cheeseburger. I haven't had a cheeseburger since I canned the vegetarian lifestyle, and it's definitely time to eat one. But I want to wait for Brian to get home so he can be my taste tester. Stay tuned for my next post, because I'm making homemade burgers with a habanero honey ailoi and pickled onions.

Marinara Sauce

1 28oz. can whole tomatoes
3 cloves garlic (minced)
1 shallot (rough chop)
3 tbsp capers (with brine)
2 tbsp Italian spices (I use Victoria Taylor's Sicilian Spice Blend)
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
olive oil

In a medium sauce pan, heat olive oil over medium heat and add shallots. Cook for about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 2 minutes before adding capers. Let capers cook for 2 more minutes. Add tomates, including the juice the tomatoes are sitting in. Add spices and salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and let simmer for 15-20 minutes. This is a super simple sauce, but the capers give it a really fantastic tart and salty flavor.

Grilled Broccolini
1/2 lb broccolini (cleaned and trimmed)
3 cloves garlic (sliced)
 3 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a mixing bowl, coat broccolini in lots of good olive oil, red pepper flakes, garlic slices and salt and pepper. Toss on a grill pan or grill and cook for 7-10 minutes. I absolutely love grilled bits of garlic. They become almost caramelized and so delicious.

Cook 1/2 box of rigatoni noodles in a big pot of salty water to al dente. Drain the pasta and return to pot after drained. Pour the marinara sauce over the rigatoni and mix to combine. Serve the pasta with the broccolini over top. The broccolini will soak up the flavors of the sauce and it will be drop dead delish.

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