Serves 4 to 6


If you can't find mezzi rigatoni, use another tube-shaped pasta, such as ziti, penne, gomiti or rigatoni. This recipe uses only the coarser outer leaves of escarole, so save the inner parts of the head for salad.
  • 1 tsp. salt, plus more for the pasta water
  • 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/4 pounds sweet Italian sausage without fennel seeds (about 6 links), removed from casings
  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red-pepper flakes
  • Outer leaves from 2 heads escarole, coarsely chopped (about 10 cups)
  • 1 pound mezzi rigatoni
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup grated Grana Padano


    Bring a large pot of salted water to boil for the pasta. Add the olive oil to a large skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the sausage. Break the meat up with a wooden spoon and cook until it's no longer pink, about 5 to 6 minutes.

    Add the garlic and red-pepper flakes, and let sizzle a minute. Add the chopped escarole, in batches if necessary, and season with the salt. Cover the escarole and let it wilt, about 3 to 4 minutes.

    Meanwhile, add the pasta to the water. Once the escarole has wilted, uncover and add the chicken stock. Bring to a simmer and cook until the escarole is tender and the sauce has reduced by half, about 5 minutes.

    When the pasta is al dente, remove it with a spider strainer and transfer directly to the sauce. Toss to coat the pasta with the sauce, adding a little pasta water if it seems dry. Turn off the heat and sprinkle with the grated cheese. Toss and serve.

    From the book LIDIA’S CELEBRATE LIKE AN ITALIAN by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich and Tanya Bastianich Manuali, copyright 2017 by Tutti a Tavola, LLC. Published by arrangement with Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC.

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