Dinner and a Movie: “The Godfather” with Sausage Rigatoni and Caesar Salad

First of all, I hope y’all at least had some good snacks to munch on during the Super Bowl this last Sunday because let’s be real, the game and the ads were a bit of a snooze. Nevertheless! Hopefully you’ve recovered from the overwhelming amounts of buffalo wings, queso, and beer and are now ready for a new kind of entertainment – my favorite, of course – Dinner and a Movie.

With the boyfriend in Prague for the semester, I’ve found myself with weird types of free time. Not the free time where it’s like “Oh good I can get some homework done” or “Thank God I can finally take a nap.” No, it’s more like “Well… It’s Friday night and my go-to human isn’t here – What am I supposed to do?” Besides cooking up a storm and legitimately eating all my feelings (shout out to my Big AND my Little for satisfying my serious sushi craving this weekend), I’ve been watching a lot of movies that have been collecting dust on my shelf begging for some screen time.

For those of you who have been living under a rock for, I don’t know, the past 40 years, “The Godfather” is a staple in American film history and if you haven’t seen it I’m ordering you to cancel your plans this weekend, and plant your butt on the couch for three hours because you need to see it. Non-negotiable. 

I hadn’t seen “The Godfather” since last year, and my body was demanding carbs… Italian movie, Italian food – seemed like an easy decision for me! So , I went straight to the grocery store and bought the ingredients for this delicious, scrumptious, Sausage Rigatoni dish. As well as my family’s Caesar Salad recipe, gotta have something green on the table right?

Caesar Salad: 4-6 main course, 8-12 side course

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup high quality extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves fresh garlic, peeled, smashed, then minced
  • 4 pieces of white bread, cut into cubes
  • 1/4 cup freshly juiced lemon juice (plus more to taste)
  • 4 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 teaspoon anchovy paste, or 1-2 anchovies, smashed and minced
  • 2 eggs
  • Freshly ground black pepper (1/4 teaspoon or to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4-6 small heads of romaine lettuce, rinsed, patted dry, wilted outer leaves discarded

Instructions:

  • In a very large bowl, whisk together the olive oil and garlic. Let sit for half an hour.
  • While the oil is sitting, make the croutons. Spread the bread cubes  out over a baking sheet. Brush or spray with olive oil (or melted butter, or if you want garlicky croutons, dip pastry brush in the garlic infused oil you have sitting in step 1). Broil for a couple of minutes until the tops are lightly browned. (Note: do not walk away, these can easily go from browned to burnt.) Remove and let cool.
  • Add anchovies and eggs to the oil garlic mixture. Whisk until creamy. Add salt and pepper and 1/4 cup of lemon juice. Whisk in half of the Parmesan cheese. Taste, add more lemon juice to taste. The lemon should give an edge to the dressing, but not overwhelm it.
  • Using your hands, tear off chunks of lettuce from the heads of lettuce (do not use a knife to cut). Add to the oil mixture and toss until coated. Add the rest of the Parmesan cheese, toss.
  • Add croutons to the salad. Toss. Serve immediately.

Except, I hate to burst your bubble, y’all get the copy-cat recipe for Caesar Salad. My family’s not Italian, but I have this feeling like if I shared this recipe, my grandmother would personally guarantee that I’d be sleeping with the fishes (ahhhh I crack myself up). Anyways, this can be made while the Sausage Rigatoni dish is cooking! That way everything is ready to be served at the same time.

Sausage Rigatoni: Serves 10-12

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound uncooked rigatoni
  • 1 pound Italian sausage
  • 16 oz jar of tomato sauce
  • 6 ounces provolone cheese, sliced
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 6 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions:

  • Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add rigatoni pasta, and cook until al dente, about 8 minutes; drain.
  • In a large skillet, brown sausage over medium heat.
  • Combine ricotta and sour cream.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9×13 inch baking dish.
  • Layer as follows: 1/2 of the pasta, Provolone cheese, ricotta mixture, 1/2 sauce, remaining pasta, Italian sausage, basil and oregano, mozzarella cheese and remaining sauce. Top with grated Parmesan cheese.
  • Bake for 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until cheeses are melted.

So put on your stretchy pants, and settle into your couch for a gangster and pasta filled evening. Trust me, you won’t regret it. Happy eating, everyone! And while you’re at it, treat yourself to a cannoli.

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