On cold winter days such as today, I find myself seeking comfort wherever I can, be it in a warm bath, relaxing, cozy clothing, hot tea, an early glass of wine, or satisfying food. And what food is more comforting than pasta? Introducing: rigatoni with escarole and sausage.

Rigatoni with escarole and sausage includes a full serving of greens nestled alongside nuggets of sausage and chewy rigatoni. Escarole is technically a chicory which can be eaten either raw or cooked. My parents always made it when I was younger braised in simple stock or bouillon. Throwing it into a hearty dish of pasta with sausage creates a delectable meal.

For me, rigatoni with escarole and sausage evokes cozy comfort, perfect for a chilly winter night. Escarole and sausage sort of reminds me of the timeless duo of broccoli rabe and sausage. The bitter escarole balances the rich sausage in this harmonious pasta dish.


  • 1 pound of loose sweet or spicy sausage, or sausage removed from the casing and broken into ¾-inch balls
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 head of escarole
  • 8 ounces rigatoni
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • Grated parmesan


In a large skillet, brown the sausage until nearly cooked. Add the crushed red pepper, salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Cook for 4-5 minutes. Make room in the center of the skillet and at the garlic. Cook until it browns.

Meanwhile, bring a pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al-dente, 6-7 minutes.

Tear apart the escarole leaves and add to the skillet. Cook until the leaves are tender, about 10 minutes.

Drain the pasta and mix in the olive oil then add to the skillet. Mix to combine and top with chopped parsley and grated parmesan cheese.