This Tuscan rigatoni 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.
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For this meal prep recipe, 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. Here are some other recipes using rigatoni, my favorite pasta ; The BEST Creamy Chorizo Pasta, Easy Quorn Bolognese and Spicy Rigatoni alla Vodka
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, such as spirali, fusilli and penne, but my fave is rigatoni so I had to pair my favourite pasta shape with my favourite pasta sauce.
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! You could use grated courgette, kale or cavolo nero as alternatives.
See the recipe card for full information on all ingredients and quantities.
3. 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 (Image 3).
4. Set the aside the browned mine on a plate. Meanwhile, add the rigatoni to salted boiling water, setting your timer to 2 minutes minus the packet time (Image 4).
5. 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 (Image 5).
6. Once thickened, take the sauce off of the heat (Image 6).
7. Drain the pasta, reserving a generous amount of pasta water and then add the pasta back into the pan and stir the creme fraiche & lemon juice into the sauce and throw in the spinach (Image 7).
8. Bring the pasta and sauce together and heat until perfectly al dente and the spinach wilts. Season with salt and lots of black pepper. Top with fresh basil and enjoy (Image 8).
Use lean pork mince (less that 5% fat) for the best flavor and texture of the dish.
Brown the pork mince to enhance the flavor and texture of the meat. Cook the pork mince over medium-high heat until browned on all sides, and then remove from the pan. Use the same pan and the fond (sticky bits of the meat) for flavour.
Don’t overcook the pasta! Cooking the rigatoni until al dente (firm to the bite) will ensure that it holds its shape and texture when added to the sauce and also to keep for meal prep.
Reserve a cup of the pasta water before you drain the pasta. This starchy water can be used to adjust the consistency of the sauce if it’s too thick.
Try some other Tuscan inspired recipes I made: Basa Fillet Recipe with Creamy Tuscan Sauce and Creamy Tuscan Gnocchi (One-pot & under 20 minutes)
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.
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.
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.
If you tried this Creamy Tuscan Inspired Rigatoni with Pork Mince recipe, it would be mean so much to me if you could leave a review & a star rating to let me know how you found it! I love hearing about your experiences – it motivates me to keep creating more and more recipes for you guys 💛 Let’s get cooking! – Mimi x