Photo: Steve Giralt

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The Guaranteed Main-Course Hit
Italian cookbook author Lidia Matticchio Bastianich loves to entertain, and one of her go-to dishes for hosting friends or family is pasta, because it's cheap and everyone—kids and adults—loves it. This homey meal from her new book, Lidia's Celebrate Like an Italian, combines the carbs with meat and veggies, so you don't even have to serve a side. First, you brown sausage in olive oil; then add garlic, red-pepper flakes and chopped escarole. The greens wilt, the sausage browns and you pour in some chicken stock to create a savory sauce. Meanwhile, you boil pasta (Bastianich uses mezzi rigatoni but you can also swap in another tube-shaped pasta such as ziti, penne or rigatoni—anything that will catch the bits of sausage and escarole). When it's done, use a slotted spoon or spider strainer to scoop the pasta straight into the sauce, toss everything together and serve with grated cheese.

Get the recipe: Mezzi Rigatoni with Sausage and Escarole