This pasta dish is so so flavourful. It’s so unique in comparison to your typical creamy pasta recipes. Often with Tuscan pasta recipes we either see Italian sausage pasta recipes or tuscan chicken pasta recipes. I decided to use pork mince as this mimics the flavour of sausage meat, whilst reducing the fats & calories. Don’t worry- the flavour isn’t compromised! After researching a lot of the flavours and ingredients that are used with Tuscan pasta recipes, I realised the most frequent pairing of greens was ‘pasta with sausage and spinach , so I decided it was appropriate to use looads of spinach to get our greens in with this creamy rigatoni dish.
I opted to use 5% fat pork mince as a substitute to italian sausage meat which is used traditionally in creamy tuscan recipes. We brown the mince on a high heat to maximise the flavour of the pork mince, meaning you won’t be missing the sausage meat on bit.
The sun-dried tomatoes in a creamy tuscan sauce are one of the distinguishing flavours of the dish. They are sweet and have an amazing texture, which contrast with the savoury flavours of the sauce amazingly.
You can use any pasta shape for this recipe, but my fave is rigatoni so I had to pair my favourite pasta shape with my favourite pasta sauce.
There’s a tanginess that creme fraiche offers over cream that is really appreciated in this recipe.
The lemon juice adds a lightness to the dish, against all of the rich creaminess that is provided by the other ingredients.
We use A LOT of spinach in this recipe but once heated, it wilts down to about 10% of it’s original size, so don’t panic!
Thinly sliced onions sauteed in the flavoursome oil provided by the sun-dried tomatoes is the perfect base of this tuscan pasta sauce.
No explanation needed for this recipe. All great creamy pasta recipes need lots of garlic.
Start by adding the mince to a large non-stick frying pan on a high heat with rapeseed oil then season with salt and pepper.
Leave the mince to brown for 5 minutes without stirring. After one side of the meat has browned, use your spatula to break the mince apart and stir continuously for a couple more minutes until cooked.
Remove the browned mince from the pan and set aside on a plate. Meanwhile, add the rigatoni to salted boiling water, setting your timer to 2 minutes minus the packet time.
Using the same pan, reduce the heat and add 1 tbsp of oil from the sun-dried tomato jar. Add the thinly sliced onions and season with salt and lots of pepper. Fry for around 5 minutes before adding the sun-dried tomatoes and garlic.
To thicken the sauce, add the flour to the pan with the onions. Fry for around a minute, while continuously stirring before adding the mince back into the pan. Then, slowly pour the chicken stock into the pan and bring up to a low simmer. Once thickened, take the sauce off of the heat.
Drain the pasta, reserving a generous amount of pasta water and then stir the creme fraiche & lemon juice into the sauce.
Now transfer the sauce into the large saucepan with the rigatoni on a low heat. Add a couple of ladles of pasta water along with the spinach.
Bring the pasta and sauce together and heat until perfectly al dente. Season with salt and lots of black pepper. Top with fresh basil and enjoy!
What pasta is tuscany known for?
The most popular pasta shape in tuscany is pappardelle but to make this recipe easy to achieve for anyone shopping in a standard supermarket or corner shop, I chose the widely used (and best) pasta shape rigatoni.
What is tuscan sauce made of?
When thinking of the most famous/most widely recognised Tuscan Pasta sauce, the creamy sauce featuring sun-dried tomatoes, onion & garlic springs to mind. The sauce is often paired with a meat such as sausage or chicken.
What can I substitute the pork mince with to make this recipe vegetarian?
I would substitute the pork mince with a plant-based quorn mince that allows for browning. To do this, I would defrost the mince (if it’s a mince substitute that’s stored in the freezer) before frying so that we can start to brown the mince immediately rather than the mince defrosting in the pan. This would cause the mince to be soggy rather than browned and delicious.
Divide the creamy tuscan rigatoni into 6 meal prep containers, storing the basil separately. This dish is freezable so to prevent boredom I would freeze 2-3 portions (although I’d never get bored of this recipe). When it’s time to eat, add a splash of water into the heat-proof container (around 1 tbsp) and heat in the microwave for 2 minutes on high. Stir and season with salt and lots of black pepper. Top with chopped fresh basil and an extra squeeze of lemon if you like things tangy.
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