When you send a cookbook manuscript to your publisher, the work doesn’t stop there. Editors pore over the pages for several months, and return them marked with queries and changes. The author (moi!) then reviews these “first copy edits” in agonizingly minute detail. This summer I spent the better part of two weeks in Paris at my computer dealing with the edits for Sunday Casseroles. I was so relieved when they were finished that I rewarded myself with an afternoon of guiltless shopping in France’s capital!
Next, designers and photographers get involved and produce a rough layout of the book with photos and text. This version, known as the “galleys,” usually arrives in hard copy annotated with more queries. Last Friday Fed Ex delivered a huge package filled with 175 pages of Sunday Casseroles galleys. For the past week I have been reading the manuscript in sleuth-like fashion, searching line by line for typos, misspellings, and omissions. My eyes are red and my pencils worn to nubs, but the job is finally done! Now, I have to pack up those pages and send them to Amy, my talented editor at Chronicle Books.
Since I thought readers might like a sneak peak of a favorite recipe from this collection, I’ve included the directions for Rigatoni with Spicy Tomato Sauce, Kalamatas and Two Cheeses. Some will recognize this special dish because it appeared in various versions in my syndicated column and on the cover of Bon Appetit in the 1990s. I hope you’ll enjoy it, and please do let me know if you discover any typos!
Rigatoni with Spicy Tomato Sauce, Kalamatas and Two Cheeses
This is my “go to” casserole for potlucks, for suppers for my husband’s college students, and for weekend company visits. It can be completely assembled in advance, serves a crowd, and has a big robust flavor. The name says it all–tube-shaped pasta are coated in a tomato sauce that gets an extra kick of heat from red pepper flakes, while creamy Havarti and Parmigiano cheeses add a luscious smoothness, and some slivered olives a salty accent.
6 tbsp/90 ml olive oil, plus more for the baking dish
1 1/2 cups/190 g chopped onions
1 tsp finely chopped garlic
Three 28-oz/794 g cans diced tomatoes, drained
2 tsp dried basil leaves
Scant 1 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
Freshly ground black pepper
2 cups/480 ml chicken broth (see cooking tip)
1 lb/455 g rigatoni, large macaroni, or penne pasta
2 1/2 cups/290 g shredded Havarti cheese
1/3 cup/40 g freshly grated Parmesan cheese, preferably Parmigiano Reggiano
1/3 cup/50 g pitted and halved Kalamata olives
1/4 cup/7 g finely chopped fresh basil or flat-leaf parsley, for garnish
1. Heat 3 tbsp oil in a large, heavy frying pan set over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the onions and garlic, and sauté, stirring, for about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes, basil, scant 1 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, 1 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper, and stir well. Add the broth and bring to a low boil.
2. Cook until the liquid has reduced and mixture is chunky, about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the heat; taste and add more salt and red pepper flakes, if desired. (Sauce can be made 1 day ahead; cool, cover, and refrigerate. Reheat before using.)
3. Cook the rigatoni according to package directions. Drain well in a colander. Lightly oil a 9-by-13-in/23-by-33-cm or a shallow 3 qt/2.8 L baking dish, and place the pasta in it. Toss the pasta with the remaining 3 tbsp oil; taste and season with more salt if needed.
4. Add the warm tomato sauce to the pasta, and toss well to combine. Add the Havarti cheese and toss again. Sprinkle the Parmesan over the top. Arrange the olives (shiny side up for a more attractive appearance if you like), over the pasta. (Pasta can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cool, cover, and refrigerate.)
5. Arrange a rack at center position and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F/180 degrees C/gas 4. Bake the pasta, uncovered, until hot and bubbly, about 25 minutes. Remove and sprinkle with either basil or parsley. Serves 6
Cooking tip: If you want to make this dish strictly vegetarian, substitute a good vegetable stock for the chicken stock in the recipe.
Prep time: 30 minutes
Start-to-finish: 1 hour, 50 minutes
Make ahead: Yes
From the forthcoming Sunday Casseroles by Betty Rosbottom (Chronicle Books 2014)