Food Bloggers Support for Sandy + Recipe for Baked Rigatoni

The devastation of hurricane Sandy has been stunning to say the least. Even a week and a half later there are still so many without power. Thousands of folks have evacuated or lost their homes, and several people lost their lives. In a time of social media and instant updates, it’s hard not to know someone(s) that have been affected. As horrific as it’s been to watch the chaos that Sandy caused, I can’t imagine what it’s like for those that were in Sandy’s path last week. As I watch the news coverage, I can’t help but want to reach through the screen and envelope these people in hugs. Feeling a bit helpless, I wanted to do something. Anything.

Comforting Baked Rigatoni Dish,

When I saw this post from Barbara at, Creative Culinary, that she and Jenn from Jenn Cuisine were hosting a Food Bloggers For Sandy Support, I had zero hesitation to get involved. Since I can’t make the multiple pots of tomato soup and dozens of chocolate chip cookies that I so desperately wish I could, instead I’ll share a recipe for my idea of comfort food and I’ll ask you to join me in an effort to support the victims of Sandy.

Baked Rigatoni with Sausage, Cauliflower & Tomatoes,

This baked rigatoni is about as comforting as it gets. Pasta, turkey sausage, and cheese baked to gooey perfection. I used some cauliflower and fresh tomatoes for good measure and a jar of homemade marinara sauce. It’s just the thing I would take a neighbor in need. No fuss, simple and down right homey. Food has a way of bringing people together whether it be in good times or bad. Sending so much love and some {virtual} baked rigatoni to those that need a hug and some comfort food today! Please consider joining the food blogging community as do what we can!

Several organizations are dedicating themselves to helping the victims of hurricane Sandy. While this list is some of the larger organizations, I’m sure there are plenty of smaller, more grass roots organizations that could use our help as well. If you have any suggestions or further information on ways to donate or help, please feel free to add it in the comment section of this post. Please don’t feel any pressure. There are multiple ways to donate and help and we all do what we can. At the very least send some love and light to the East coast as their dealing with yet another snow storm and could use all the prayers they can get!

  • Red Cross is provides food, shelter, and other forms of support to hurricane victims. You can donate directly to the Red Cross (by clicking on the Red Cross badge), or you can also text the word “Redcross” to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
  • Salvation Army is focused on providing food, shelter, and support to victims that have been evacuated or lost their homes.
  • Feeding America is providing food, water and supplies to those who need it as part of their disaster relief program.

If you have any further information on ways to donate or help, please feel free to add it in the comments below. You can follow the hashtag #FBS4Sandy on Twitter and Instagram to see other food bloggers comfort food recipes.


Baked Rigatoni with Cauliflower, Sausage & Tomatoes


  • 1/2 lb. sweet Italian pork or turkey sausage, removed from it’s casing and crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 1 quart your favorite marinara sauce
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 14 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 lb rigatoni
  • 1/2 lb cauliflower cut into 1 inch florets (about 3 cups)
  • 5 roma tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 1 cup grated fontina cheese
  • 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 375F degrees. Bring a large pot of well salted water to a boil. Grease a 9 x 13 pan with 1 tablespoon butter; set aside.
  2. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add diced onion and crumbled sausage and cook until sausage starts to brown and is cooked through. Add garlic and cook 1-2 minutes more. Drain of any excess fat. Add red wine to pan and let boil until it’s almost gone. Add marinara and bring sauce to simmer. Turn heat to low and then add cream and basil. Just heat sauce through and then season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat.
  3. Meanwhile, when the water comes to a boil, cook the rigatoni just until al dente, about 10 minutes. Drain the pasta with a slotted spoon, leaving the water in the pot. Transfer pasta to a large bowl. Return water to a boil and add cauliflower. Cook just until tender, about 2 minutes. Drain and add to the pasta.
  4. To the pasta and cauliflower, add the diced tomatoes, fontina and mozzarella cheese and the tomato-sausage sauce. Mix thoroughly before transferring pasta mixture to buttered dish. Top pasta with the parmesan cheese.
  5. Bake in a preheated oven for 30 minutes or until cheese is melted. Let the pasta rest for 10 minutes before serving.