Rigatoni with Red Pepper, Almonds and Bread Crumbs

Yes, I did say Crouton!  Get it on!

Are you longing for rustic Italian charm?  Would you rather be known as Mama Leoni instead of just Mama Rigatoni?

I know this appears to look like another plain old pasta dish with meat sauce but it’s not.  It’s really Not!  It’s made with croutons and red peppers (and some other stuff), but no meat in this one.  Sneaky, huh?

It’s a fan-tabulous celebration about what’s good in your mouth.  A textural taste-o-rama is probably a better description.

This is a great throw together dish that takes minutes to make and will bring a little bit of life to your weeknight table.  It’s a great side dish too. 

So let’s get started, it’s almost dinner time for gosh sakes!

This is all you need to take your weeknight meal plan up a notch.  It’s not much people.  Rigatoni pasta, garlic-flavored croutons, slivered almonds, roasted red bell peppers, extra-virgin-olive oil and Parmesan cheese.  Let’s get to work.

You’ll need to get some croutons, garlic flavored.  These are Super Garlic Flavored.  I’m not really sure what that means.

Add 5 ounces of garlic-flavored croutons to your food processor.

Now for the slivered almonds, not silvery almonds as I used to call them.

Add 1/4 cup of slivered almonds to a nonstick pan and toast until golden brown.  Watch very carefully, these turn brown quickly.

Add the toasted almonds to the food processor with the croutons.

Here’s what they look like together.  I know you needed to see this.

Now whir it up…..weeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Here’s the finished product.  Yes, you just made breadcrumbs.  You didn’t even know you could. 

Now you will need some roasted red bell peppers.  Any brand will do.  I like these because they are from Napa Valley and well we know I love that place!

Here are your roasted red peppers, right out of the jar.  I know, not so pretty but this really gives such a good flavor.  I love them in any dish.

You will need 1 cup of chopped roasted red peppers.  I like to julienne them first and then cut them into smaller pieces.  However you like them is fine.

Now this is the most important part of the recipe!  THE COOKING TIME FOR THE PASTA!  If you look at the box it says 14 minutes to cook these giant noodles.  WRONG!  This pasta is way too dry at that point and hard.  Because the breadcrumbs and peppers and olive oil are the sauce the pasta has to be cooked till it’s soft.  If it’s hard, well that will be bad.  Keep tasting it, just aldente will not be good enough.  You need soft here, about 20 minutes.

Now add 1 lb of Rigatoni to a pot of boiling water.

Stir and cook until done.  Really done.  Don’t forget this part.

Drain pasta into a large bowl.

Add the breadcrumb mixture to the pasta.

Now add the roasted red peppers on top…this is getting good.

Now pour 3/4 cups of Extra-Virgin Olive Oil over the pasta and all the other good stuff.

Now toss really, really well.  I’m not kidding, break up all the little bread crumbs and incorporate nicely so that each bite is covered in all that rustic goodness. 

Go ahead and grate some Parmesan cheese, as much as you like, to add to the top of the pasta.

Do you see all the bits of crumbs and peppers in every bit?  It’s really delicious.  Remember, it’s not creamy, it’s rustic which is of course my favorite way to eat!

With a small side salad and some garlic bread, this is a meal of champions.  It’s very filling, so a little goes a long way!

Enjoy it!  I know you will!

Rigatoni with Red Pepper, Almonds and Bread Crumbs
adapted from Giada  De Laurentiis

1 pound rigatoni pasta
3 cups purchased garlic-flavored croutons (about 5 ounces)
1/4 cup slivered almonds (about 1 ounce), toasted
1 cup chopped roasted red bell peppers
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.  Add the pasta and cook until tender.  Make sure it is tender!  If the pasta is too hard the dish will be dry.  Extend the cooking time on the box and keep tasting until it is soft.  Drain pasta into a large bowl.

Place the croutons and the toasted almonds in a food processor.  Pulse until it becomes the texture of bread crumbs.  Add the crouton and almond mixture to the hot pasta.  Add the peppers and the olive oil.  Toss really well, incorporating all the bread crumbs with the olive oil and serve.


Post a Comment


  1. Yum! I bet the croûtons add a really awesome flavor!

  2. WOW…that looks wonderful. I love the idea of this dish. And I’m on the hunt for those roasted peppers.
    Great post!

  3. Mike 3

    Sneaky indeed–I would have went right along thinking it was meat sauce! Sounds like it would be very tasty though, even without meat ;-) Roasted red peppers make everything wonderful

  4. You are a goddess, you know that don’t you?

    I love any and all pasta dishes, especially those with meat. But my husband does not like meat in his pasta dishes (sick, I know) but this one would be right up his alley! He likes all these ingredients, especially the roasted red peppers!

    I think I’m going to make this dish this weekend! It looks so good and easy, which makes it even better!

  5. Serena 5

    oooh nice! It reminds of a recipe my family cooks often. I’ll try yours soon. I never thought to add roasted red peppers! We use tomatoes. Ooooh you just gave me an idea: add *roasted* tomatoes to the breadcrubs!

    Just one tip for dressing your pasta: add the oil *before* all the other ingredients and then mix it. *Then* add everything else. This prevents each noodle to stick to each other!

    Sere, from Italy

  6. Your basil is beautiful!
    I love the recipe. It makes me ponder… like how would it be if you used pecans instead of almonds, substituted a different pasta, added a second cheese?
    Not that I plan to do those things, I just appreciate a recipe that makes you think!
    The one thing I wouldn’t change… Super Garlic Croutons! Garlic. Yum!


  7. Tipper 7

    I recently ate a dish similar to this at a friends house-and it was delicious! I didn’t miss the meat at all. I love your post about the bottles!

  8. Ah, this reminds me of all the good Italian cooking I enjoyed in Monterey, CA. *sigh* I wonder where they grow Super Garlic ~ in Super Gilroy?

    Looks delish! Maybe if I eat some with my eyes closed I can pretend I’m back in CA. . .

  9. Meg 9

    THAT looks amazing! I am sooooo making that! My son hates hamburger meat, ground sirloin, you name it…anytime I make anything with pasta in it that requires any sort of “meat” I have to “save” him some without the meat, he is going to LOVE this!!!!

    Have a great weekend!!!!

  10. that is a most comforting dish you’ve prepared. if your goal was to make me all warm and fuzzy just anticipating the taste of it, you have succeeded. :)

    meanwhile, does garlic exist that isn’t super? i think not.

  11. My 3 word memoir: Super Garlic Croutons. Who knew such heaven on earth existed???

  12. Harmony 12

    That looks positively fabulous! I cannot wait to try this…I LOVE pasta!!!

  13. Deborah 13

    This looks amazing! A delicious pasta dinner!

  14. Ding! I have some leftover romesco sauce in the fridge that I made for dipping artichokes in this weekend, and now I’m going to toss it with pasta tonight due to your lovely post. I’m printing this one out, sista. Thank you, too, for your sweet words about our pup. Everyone’s encouragement helped so much.

  15. Flea 15

    Mmmm. This looks so yummy. I’ll have to try it this summer when my Romas and sweet basil are going strong. I’ll post my eggplant parmesan about then too. :)

  16. This is my dinner tonight! Yummmmm
    I love your blog- thank you for following mine.
    We will have to look into doing some pairings together??

  17. pam 17

    Super Garlic Croutons! Who knew?

  18. WOW, that’s some yummy looking stuff man. I have that same BIG bottle of olive oil on my counter :)

  19. This sounds absolutely fabulous. I am adding the ingredients to my shopping list!

  20. Girl, you have earned my trust… I WILL be making this.

  21. Kevin 21

    That pasta sounds good! I really like roasted red peppers and parmesan cheese in pasta. I have never tried adding bread crumbs to though. It sounds like a good idea, especially when using garlic croutons and almonds! I will have to try this. Bookmarked

  22. I think even I can do this. Looks yummy!

  23. Ali 23

    What a great recipe!

    I loved it so much, I included it in a weekly roundup of the best recipes on the web, over at Blissfully Domestic. (http://www.blissfullydomestic.com)

    Thanks for the recipe!! :o)

  24. Serena 24

    I just had it. Wow, it’s wonderful! I made some small adjustments because a)I didn’t any almonds *sighs* and b)didn’t have any super garlic croûtons either so I toasted some good bread, rubbed some garlic (a LOT of garlic) over each loaf and then put it all in the mixer as you said. Also? I roasted some red peppers myself instead of using the ready-made in the jar. After peeling and slicing the peppers, I left them in a bowl with extra virgin oil for some time so that the oil’d take all the flavor.

    This dish was a BIG hit, thank you! We’ll definately do it again (and hopefully, next time I’ll have all the right ingredints eheh)

  25. Swan 25

    I’m eating this even as we speak, it IS fabulous!

    I can’t wait to try it out on my friends & especially my vegetarian daughter, she’ll love it

    I need to go lie down now, I feel all warm & happy

    thank you

  26. Swan 26

    I’m eating this even as we speak, it IS fabulous!

    I can’t wait to try it out on my friends & especially my vegetarian daughter, she’ll love it

    I need to go lie down now, I feel all warm & happy

    thank you


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