Baked Rigatoni with Broccoli, Pancetta, and Olives

My husband is not really that into food. It’s rare that he makes dinner requests, and when he does, it’s always something simple like “chicken. And salad.”  

So I was very surprised the other day when he saw me flipping through the latest Food and Wine, and pointed out a recipe. 

“You should make that” he said, pointing to a recipe for a baked rigatoni with broccoli, tomato, olives, pancetta and ricotta.  

Didn’t seem like Mr. B’s usual eating habits, but I thought it looked delicious, so I jumped on the opportunity and really liked it. It was a nice change of pace from usual red sauce baked pastas, and if you happen to have leftover roasted vegetables, it would be a great way to use them up. 

Baked Rigatoni with Broccoli, Green Olives, and Pancetta, adapted from Food and Wine
Serves 6

2 tbsp unsalted butter, and more for greasing
1 ½ lbs plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise (I used yellow cherry tomatoes, as I had them)
3 garlic cloves, crushed
3 tbsp olive oil
1 ½ lbs broccoli, cut into florets
4 oz pancetta, diced
¼ cup chopped onion
1 cup pitted green olives (I used kalamatas)
1 lb rigatoni
2 cups fresh ricotta
¾ cup good Parmesan

Preheat oven to 425 and butter a 9x13 baking dish. 

On a rimmed baking sheet, combine tomatoes, 1 tbsp olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic. Roast for 20 minutes. 

On another sheet, combine broccoli with 1 tbsp olive oil, more salt and pepper, and roast for 15 minutes. 

In a large, deep skillet, combine pancetta and last tbsp olive oil. Cook until crispy, about 5 minutes, then add onion and cook until softened, 5 more minutes. Add olives, then stir in the roasted tomato and garlic mixture, including juices, and add 2 tbsp butter. Keep warm. 

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil and add rigatoni. Cook until al dente, then drain and reserve 1 cup of cooking liquid.  Add pasta to skillet, then add ricotta and broccoli, plus ½ cup Parmesan, and mix well.  Transfer to baking dish, sprinkle with last ¼ cup Parmesan, and bake for 15 minutes, until golden. 

Let stand 5 minutes and serve. Can be made ahead and reheated.

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