Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Pipe Rigate & Peas with a Smoky Marinara Sauce

Not all marinara sauces are created alike. This is a fact. Some are simplistic and perfectly balanced, but some, in fact, have a cruel and unusual sense of humor.  I learned this hard lesson as a kid when I was eating supper at a new friend's house one summer. As I, masterfully, pushed my spaghetti around on my plate to give the appearance of less food, in a biting, stern tone, my friend's mother asked me why I wasn't eating my spaghetti? Before I had a chance to think up a good lie, my friend's brother blurted out that WE didn't like the tomato sauce! *Gasp* 

Smoky Marinara Sauce
Standing up in a huff and grabbing all of our plates, we were relieved to think she was throwing all our soggy, oregano over-dosed spaghetti in the garbage, and we were scott-free to go outside and play! But, what came next, I could never have imagined. She walked over to the sink and rinsed all our plates of spaghetti under the kitchen faucet, and placed each plate of rinsed spaghetti in front of us to eat! Yes, you read that correctly... the kitchen faucet.  I'm not even sure she gave us back our own plates. "There!" She said. "Eat it!" Just when we thought we were out of the woods...rinsed spaghetti!

 I think, to this very day, "rinsed spaghetti,"  has got to be one of the most bizarre memory recollections I have. Hands down.  I have to admit, it still cracks me up today, and I had a good chuckle even sharing this story with all of you just now.

Perhaps this incident was a blessing in disguise, and the catalyst for my quest in creating the perfect sauce? Hey, I'll give credit where it is due.  Well, of course, all I needed was to copy my mother's marinara recipe, for it certainly holds the crown, in my book. But, I wanted to do something a little different, and bring a bit of smokiness to the party.  In this Pipe Rigate & Peas recipe, all the flavors are thoughtfully balanced, but, it is, surely, the smoky sauce that is the star of the show, and I guarantee, no one will be rinsing this plate under the kitchen faucet!

This marinara sauce sways a bit from tradition, I admit, and adding a smoked pork shank is quite a step outside the box, but trust me on this one. This sauce is smoky and bright with layers of flavor. Studded throughout, are little pieces of hot cherry peppers that bring just a touch of heat to the table. The addition of sweet peas is the perfect counterpoint to the salty, smokiness of the sauce, which is captured so beautifully inside the curvy shape of the pipe rigate pasta.  When you hit those moments where a little, sweet pea is captured in a piece of macaroni filled with sauce, I can, honestly, say it is the perfect-bite trifecta!

This smoky, marinara sauce is so simple and complex at the same time, that you will want to sop up every last bit of the sauce on your plate with a piece of crusty bread. I sure did!

COOK'S NOTE: *Always toss your pasta with your sauce first, then serve with additional sauce at the table, but be sure not to add too, much sauce to your pasta; in Italy, sauce is meant to be a condiment.*

Pipe Rigate Pasta - uncooked

1 pound of dried pipe rigate pasta
2 cups of frozen peas (thawed)
Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese for grating


Prepare pipe rigate in salted boiling water until el dente. Drain pasta and sprinkle with about a 1/4 cup of grated Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese. Sprinkling the cheese on first allows the cheese to melt slightly and help the sauce cling to the pasta.  Toss in the peas, and, finally, the sauce. Add more, or less sauce to your personal taste. I like to minimally coat the pasta, then serve with more sauce at the table, so my guests can add the amount they desire.  Also, serve with additional Parmigiano Reggiano grated cheese.

Pair with a nice Chianti, such as DaVinci; the perfect compliment!

Buon Appetito!


  1. Sounds AWESOME!! I have been contemplating sauce and meatballs this week sometime. Now, after reading this, I think I may have to adjust my thinking. I sure hope that was not at my house that you had "RINSED SPAGHETTI"..LOL... I do not remember that, so I think I (or should I say my mother) is off the hook on that one :)

    1. Carol... hahahaaa.. No, it was not at your house that I had "rinsed spaghetti!" hahaa. You are too funny, my friend. :-) Yes! Try the smoky sauce! Guys really love it because, well ya know, they love to grill, and they love all smoked foods, really, don't they? :-) Anyway... let me know how it turns out! -Cath xo

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  3. I feel as though I have had a rinsed spaghetti experience in my past as well, it sounds all to familiar (my mom is a terrible italian cook) but I think I was distracted by other things to notice. And I'm pretty sure I didn't have to eat it... ugh. Either way, funny story. I'm always looking to try marinara recipes so I'll give yours a shot!

    1. Sweet Road- Hey there!! Oh, you had a "rinsed spaghetti" experience, too!! I don't feel so alone now!! hahaa. This smoky marinara is amazing! Hope you make. So easy!

      Thanks for stopping by! Come back soon!!


  4. Replies
    1. Hi, Lindsay!! Thanks for you sweet compliment!! Stop by again, soon! Always cooking up something new!!