I know it's January, and that means resolutions, healthy eating, and no carbs. Thus, I bring you a cheesy, creamy, baked pasta dish. Sorry not sorry. There is cauliflower in here though, so… it balances out, right? In all seriousness, this is a decadent, hearty, filling, and comforting dinner. One that will definitely stick to your ribs on a cold winter night.
This is a pretty basic baked pasta dish, with just a few add-ons that catapult it into the "super delicious" category. First, the spicy pink sauce. A simple marinara sauce is amped up with the addition of a little cream and some red pepper flakes. The rich cream pairs nicely with the spiciness from the pepper. Secondly, it uses fontina instead of mozzarella, which gives it a slightly creamier, more complex flavor. Finally, the addition of cauliflower not only adds a textural counterpoint to the soft and tender pasta, but it balances out some of the richness as well. I served this as a vegetarian main course, but I think some spicy sausage would be great it here as well, or even just served alongside the pasta.
Despite having several components, this does come together pretty easily. However, I see no reason why you couldn't assemble it ahead of time and bake it when you're ready for dinner. Just add a few extra minutes to the baking time.
And then have a salad on the side. Because you know, resolutions and all.
Baked Rigatoni with Cauliflower in a Spicy Pink Sauce
barely adapted from Fine Cooking
serves 6 to 8