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5 simple ingredients: Make Giada's easy rigatoni with squash and sausage

Need to put dinner on the table but the fridge and pantry are looking scarce? You're in luck because Giada De Laurentiis has two delicious meals that only use five simple ingredients. Here, the celebrity chef is sharing two great five-ingredient recipes: mezzi rigatoni with butternut squash and spicy sausage, plus flat iron steak with piquillo pepper pesto.

Mezzi rigatoni with butternut squash and spicy sausage
Giada De Laurentiis 

Serve 4 to 6



  • 1 pound mezzi rigatoni pasta
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus 3 tablespoons for finishing
  • 1 pound spicy Italian sausage, casing removed
  • 1 pound butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/3 inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 2 cups roughly chopped baby arugula

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until just al dente. Drain well reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta water.

In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium high heat. Add the sausage and cook, breaking it up with a wooden spoon into bite sized pieces, until the sausage is cooked though. Add the diced squash to the pan and stir to combine. Add the water and season with the salt. Using the wooden spoon, make sure all of the squash is submerged. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the squash is tender and the liquid has reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Add the cooked pasta and 3/4 cup parmesan. Stir vigorously to combine, breaking up the squash slightly as you go and thinning with pasta water as needed until the pasta is coated in a light and creamy sauce. Stir in the arugula and the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Cook just until the arugula is wilted. Serve topped with the remaining Parmesan.

Flat iron steak with piquillo pepper pesto

Recipe courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis

Yield: Serves 4
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 8 minutes


For the pesto:

  • 1 (9-ounce) jar of roasted piquillo peppers
  • 1/2 cup unsalted macadamia nuts
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

For the steak:

  • 1 flat iron steak, about 1 pound
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

In the bowl of a food processor, place the peppers, nuts, salt and olive oil. Puree until the mixture is smooth, scraping down the sides with a rubber spatula as needed. Spoon into a bowl and set aside until ready to use.

Remove the steaks from the refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Dry the steaks well. Season the steaks evenly with the salt. Add the oil to the hot pan and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. Carefully add the steaks to the pan and place a foil wrapped brick or small cast iron pan on top of the steaks to weigh them down and place even pressure on the first side of the steak allowing for even browning. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes on the first side. Remove the weight and using tongs flip the steak to the remaining side. Cook for an additional 3 to 4 minutes for medium rare to medium. Remove the steaks from the pan and allow them to rest for at lest 10 minutes before slicing them against the grain and serving with the piquillo pepper pesto.