May 20, 2020

Top Chef All-Stars contestant Melissa King hosts a special virtual cooking demo for Zynga employees. Recreate her famous rigatoni dish with her special recipe!


By Melissa King
Recipe can be made vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free Yield: 6 people

1 box – Large Rigatoni (Barilla Collezione works nice or any high-quality brand)

3 links – Hot or Regular Italian Sausage, remove casing, break up meat (Can omit and be vegetarian)

1 bunch – Broccoli Rabe (Rapini, Broccoli, or Sautéed mushrooms/green zucchini are great substitutes)

28 ounce – Canned whole or crushed San Marazano tomatoes (use your favorite marinara sauce brand, can be homemade)

1 Cup – White Wine (dry chardonnay) or Red Wine (dry, full bodied like cabernet sauvignon, syrah, or chianti)

1⁄2 Cup – Heavy Cream (optional)

1⁄4 tsp – Chili Flakes (optional)

1 – small onion, small dices

2 cloves – Garlic, slices

1⁄2 Cup – Extra Virgin Olive Oil (High quality, I prefer California olive oils)

1 TB – Fresh Basil leaves, chopped

1 TB – Fresh Parsley leaves, chopped

1 tsp – Kosher Salt

Fresh Cracked Black Pepper

1 – Small Wedge of Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino

Season produce options that can be added to the pasta:

  • Fava Leaves (blanch in replace of broccoli rabe)
  • Peas (blanch, add to pasta)
  • Stinging Nettles (blanch in replace of broccoli rabe)
  • Green Garlic (chop and sauté with onions)
  • Sungold tomatoes (add at last minute)

Steps we will do together in class:

In a large pot of salted boil water, blanch broccoli rabe for 3 minutes until tender. Drain well and shock in ice water to stop the cooking. Drain well and squeeze out moisture.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a heavy pinch of salt to the water. Add rigatoni, and stir occasionally. Cook the pasta to 70% doneness and strain. Meanwhile in large sauté pan, sauté the onions with 1 TB of EVOO until soft. Add the Italian sausage and sauté until caramelized. Break up the pieces with a fork and cook the sausage all the way through. Add slices of garlic to

the pan and sauté for 1 minute. Add a pinch of chili flakes and deglaze the pan with wine. Add crushed tomatoes and simmer until ready to complete the pasta dish. When the pasta is par- cooked add it to the sauce and stir while on high heat. Add a splash of pasta water, remaining virgin olive oil, and cook until the tomato sauce absorbed into the pasta and it’s al dente. Finish with heavy cream (optional), grated cheese, basil, parsley, salt, black pepper and more EVOO.

*For Gluten Free, sub in GF Pasta
*For Vegetarian, omit sausage or use vegetarian sausage
*For Vegan, omit cream and cheese and add in seasonal produce, if desired