It's been a hard, long day at work. The boss was in a mood, the coffee had grounds in it, and the printer's on the fritz again. You trudge home, open the fridge, and all you want is easy-peasy and tasty to wash away the day. This tomato cream rigatoni is your guy. First, you'll make delicious, cheesy croutons. Then, you'll whip up the pasta, vegetables, and sauce: a creamy, tomato-y burst of comfort to your taste buds and tummy. Put your feet up, rev up your favorite streaming service, and scarf down.
Cut ciabatta into ½" cubes.
Stem, seed, remove ribs, and slice red bell pepper into ¼" strips.
Cut mushrooms into ¼" slices.
Make the Grilled Cheese Croutons
Place a medium non-stick pan over medium heat.
Add 1½ tsp. olive oil and ciabatta cubes to hot pan. Stir occasionally until lightly brown, 3-4 minutes.
Add mozzarella, half the Parmesan (reserve remaining for garnish), and half the garlic (reserve remaining for sauce). Stir constantly until cheese melts, 30-60 seconds.
Remove croutons to a plate and spread into a single layer. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper and cover.
Reserve pan; no need to wipe clean.
Cook the Pasta
Once water is boiling, add pasta and cook until al dente, 11-13 minutes.
Reserve ¼ cup pasta water. Drain pasta in a colander.
Reserve pot; no need to wipe clean.
While pasta boils, sauté vegetables.
Sauté the Vegetables
Return pan used to make croutons to medium-high heat.
Add 1 tsp. olive oil and red bell pepper to hot pan. Cook undisturbed until lightly charred, 2-3 minutes.
Add mushrooms and stir occasionally until tender, 3-4 minutes.
Remove from burner. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper.
Make the Sauce
Return pot used to cook pasta to medium heat. Add ½ tsp. olive oil and remaining garlic to hot pot. Stir occasionally until fragrant, 30-60 seconds.
Stir in cream, reserved pasta water, tomato paste, and vegetable base until thoroughly incorporated. Bring to a simmer. Stir occasionally until sauce slightly thickens, 3-5 minutes.
Remove from burner. Add pasta and vegetables and stir to combine. Season with ¼ tsp. salt and a pinch of pepper.
Plate dish as pictured on front of card, topping pasta with croutons and garnishing with remaining Parmesan. Bon appétit!