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Chorizo & Fermented Tomato Rigatoni with Crispy Parmesan Squash Blossoms

Chorizo & Fermented Tomato Rigatoni with Crispy Parmesan Squash Blossoms

I promised myself I would never do another half marathon. After the last one I ran six years ago, I decided defecating my running shorts on the finish line wasn’t exactly an experience I wanted to repeat. It’s painstaking to train, painful on my now motherly hips, and I hate running. Yet, here I am, signed up for another half marathon. I am a human who likes to wade out into the rushing waters of struggle and try to “salmon” my way back out. I might die on the journey, but you bet your sweet apple pie I’m going to lay my eggs first. Gross analogy, but I stand by it.

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I started my training and I went on my first run yesterday and I came home with a bright red face and told Ben that I wanted to go all “Michael Scott” on a bowl of fettuccine. I didn’t get my fettuccine, I got something much better. A little idea in my head that started with spicy chorizo took it’s course and the list began: chorizo, fermented tomato sauce, fresh rigatoni, parmesan squash blossom crisps, preserved lemon, more parmesan, and anchovy. Thus, a perfect meal. The red sauce in this recipe is some of my best work in the kitchen. I feel no shame bragging on it. After one bite, Ben sat back in his chair with a big grin on his face and sighed. There is no higher compliment from that man. A grin paired with a sigh.

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This sauce is so good you can hear the whispers of angels when you stir it. It is flavored with anchovy paste, preserved lemon, and homemade lacto-fermented tomato pureé. I have been throwing anchovy paste and fish sauce in almost everything lately and I always surprised at the dynamic flavor fish can bring, even when it’s not the main course. Preserved lemon brightens the sauce and tames the tanginess of the fermented tomatoes.

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My neighbor has a lovely garden and a bunch of squash blossoms that needed picking to allow her zucchini to get more nourishment. I volunteered to help her take care of this “problem” with the intention of dipping those suckers in egg, dredging in Italian bread crumbs and parmesan, and frying up those babies in a pan to top off some pasta. When I die, don’t cremate me. Just dip me in egg, cover me in parmesan, and then let me bake for a few hours. I want to come back as a parmesan crisp.

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A little cheesy, crispy squash blossom on top of this spicy, chorizo and tomato rigatoni is the savory equivalent of a double scoop. Treat on top of treat. Garnish with parmesan, lemon zest, and flat-leaf parsley. Make sure you are always heavy-handed when it comes to parmesan otherwise you are not a human that can be trusted. Trustworthy humans worship cheese. Cheesus Saves! Spread the news!

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The main take away from this recipe is the sauce. I am sharing this little treasure with you because I believe it will greatly enhance your life, or rather, your dishes. It takes a little time to make with the lacto-fermented tomatoes, but it is really easy and worth the extra effort, just like all good things.

I will absolutely be making this delectable dish on the reg as I push the limits of my body, training for the thirteen miles I will run in October. God speed, Taste Buds! It’s time to carbo load for Michael Scott’s Dunder-Mifflin Scranton Meredith Palmer Celebrity Rabies Awareness Pro-Am Fun Run Race for the Cure!

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Fermented Tomato Sauce

Very few ingredients in the pasta sauce. It is the way in which the ingredients are used that really makes this sauce have deep, comforting flavor. It is not created equal to other tomato sauces and will coat any pasta like a dream. Reduce it and thicken it up if you want to use it for a pizza sauce.


  • 1 cup fermented tomato sauce (see recipe)
  • 1 preserved lemon, seeded and diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and diced
  • 1 tbsp anchovy paste
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cans crushed tomatoes (28 oz each)


How to cook Fermented Tomato Sauce

Making the Sauce
  1. Heat the oil in a large dutch oven and add the garlic cloves and anchovy paste once it is hot.  Stir until fragrant and add the fermented tomato sauce, crushed tomatoes, and preserved lemon.  Bring it to a simmer and use an immersion blender to blend the sauce to a smooth consistency. 
Lacto-Fermented Tomato Puree
  1. 1 kg ripe cherry tomatoes
  2. 20 grams non-iodized salt
  3. Cut the tomatoes in half and mix thoroughly with salt.  Place in a jar or crock with all of the salt and juices.  Weight the tomatoes with a glass weight made for lacto-fermentation or fill a baggy half-way with water, push the air out, and seal it.  Close the jar or crock and allow them to ferment for 5 - 7 days.  On the third day, regularly "burp" your fermentation by removing the lid and then resealing it.  This will allow a little carbon dioxide to escape and the fermentation to continue. 
  4. Transfer to a bowl and using an immersion blender, blend the contents of your fermentation.  You can strain this for a smoother liquid used for a salad dressing or gazpacho;  however, for use in this pasta sauce straining is not necessary. 
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Chorizo & Fermented Rigatoni with Crispy Parmesan Squash Blossoms

Yield: 4 hungry adults or 5-6 modest portions served with other courses
Spicy chorizo marries preserved lemon and fermented tomatoes in this ceremony conducted by fresh, homemade rigatoni. Top with crispy Parmesan squash blossoms, more parmesan, lemon zest, flat leaf parsley, and a little drizzle of olive oil.


For the Crispy Parmesan Squash Blossoms
  • 8 - 10 squash blossoms
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 4 oz grated parmesan 
  • 1 cup Italian breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
Chorizo & Fermented Tomato Rigatoni
  • 2 lbs spicy chorizo
  • 30 oz fresh rigatoni
  • 1 batch of Fermented Tomato Sauce (see recipe above)
  • 2 oz parmesan, shaved
  • 1 bunch flat leaf parsley, chopped fine
  • 2 lemons, zested
  • 1 tbsp Italian olive oil
  • 8-10 Crispy Parmesan Squash Blossoms (see recipe attached) 


How to cook Chorizo & Fermented Rigatoni with Crispy Parmesan Squash Blossoms

Crispy Parmesan Squash Blossoms
  1. Wash the squash blossoms with cold water and put on a paper towel to dry.  Mix together 3 oz parmesan, breadcrumbs, and salt in a bowl.  Mix together the eggs and water in another bowl.  Dip the blossoms in the egg until thoroughly coated.  Dredge the egg-coated blossoms in the parmesan.  
  2. Heat the oil in a pan on medium high heat.  Once the oil is hot, sprinkle a little of the reserved parmesan in a nest.  Take each blossom coated in breadcrumbs and place in the nest, moving the blossom carefully in the pan to pick up the bits of parmesan in and around the nest.  Turn the blossoms when they get really brown, making sure all sides are browned and crisp.  Remove from pan and set aside. 
Assembling the Dish
  1. Cook the pasta per the instructions.  If you are using fresh pasta, it only takes a few minutes and the best test for al dente is tasting it yourself.  Fresh pasta only takes a few minutes, so I never set a timer.  I simply watch and taste.  Drain pasta, leaving a little of the starchy water on the pasta.  
  2. Make the sauce. Meanwhile, cook the spicy chorizo until browned and cooked through.  Set aside to drain on a paper towel. Combine the sauce and the chorizo.  
  3. Toss the pasta and the chorizo and rigatoni until thoroughly coated.  Plate the dish and shave parmesan on the top, chopped flat leaf parsley, and zest lemon over the top.  Drizzle with a little olive oil and top with a couple fried squash blossoms. 
Created using The Recipes Generator
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