baked rigatoni with mushroom, zucchini and leek tomato sauce

We kept forgetting to replace our canned plum tomatoes, so eventually we were bound to need them and be caught without. Fortunately some newly purchased fresh plum tomatoes intended for a then current food mag roasted tomato soup recipe (that we never did anyway) were available for the more immediate objective—baked pasta. We still had zucchini and leeks on our minds from the previous pasta improvisations (and a fresh supply in the fridge) and ms_ani was still in a baked pasta mood, showing no signs of waning enthusiasm, but this time she decided to go light with a tomato based sauce replacing the cheese (= fat) of those previous baked pasta experiments.

We may have been breaking the cardinal rule of good Italian cooking (keep it simple, stupid) with our multiple billing star ingredients but all of us liked the results. Regular people eating regular food. At home. That's what it's all about. At least in our income bracket. Of course in restaurants we'll take excellence if we can find it.


1 lb rigatoni or similar tube pasta
3 T olive oil
1 onion
1/2 large leek
3 cloves garlic, pressed
2 zucchini, julienne sliced
5 medium white mushrooms, cleaned and chopped
6 or 7 fresh plum tomatoes, chopped
3 green onions, chopped
1/2 t hot paprika
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 t sugar
1/4 t cayenne red pepper
1/2 c grated romano cheese
2/3 c freshly grated parmigiano


  1. Start the pasta water boiling and cook the pasta al dente with the usual amount of salt.
  2. Meanwhile do the veggie food prep.
  3. Sauté the onion and leek in the olive oil, then add in the garlic for a bit.
  4. Next stir in the zucchini and cook a bit, then the mushrooms and cook a bit.
  5. Finally dump in the tomatoes and cook down for as long as you have patience.
  6. At some point before giving up mix in the green onions and spices.
  7. Combine the pasta and sauce and cheeses and serve.


  1. Does this inspire you to improvise? Or are we just kidding ourselves?
brgmzlts.htm: 7-jan-2002 [what, ME cook? © 1984 dr bob enterprises]