Rigatoni with Peppers, Zucchini and Garlic Mayonnaise

Not to belittle this recipe (which is very tasty), but making this dish is a great way for me to clean out the fridge. Except for fresh basil, this recipe is filled with ingredients that I always have around. As I am always disappointed when I have to throw food away because I haven’t found time to cook it and it’s gone bad, this is a perfect recipe for me. And surprise! It’s vegetarian… not typically the kind of recipe you see here.

Plus I get to try making mayonnaise again. I’ve done this before successfully but last time I tried, I ended up with a liquid that I used for salad dressing. Good, but not what I was aiming at.

Here we go!

As the recipe suggests, start with the aioli.
Garlic. Lots of garlic.



Mash 6 cloves in a mortar and pestle until it became a smooth paste.

garlic paste

Garlic paste.

Other ingredients.

egg and oil

An egg and oil.

Add the oil, drop by drop.

adding the oil

Adding the oil.

About half the oil has been added.

part way along

Part way along.

No more oil to add. It’s almost aioli.

almost aioli

Almost aioli.

Lemon for juice.



Now it’s aioli.



So that’s made and the flavours are mingling. Time to get started on the pasta portion of the recipe.

Peppers, halved.

halved bell peppers

Halved bell peppers.

And roasted and chopped.

roasted bell peppers

Roasted bell peppers.

chopped bell peppers

Chopped bell peppers.

A great tip for removing skins from peppers after roasting: put them in a bowl, cover the bowl with cling film and wait for the steam to loosen the skins. It’s very easy to peel them afterwards.

Zucchini and red onion.

red onion and zucchini

Red onion and zucchini.

Chopped and sliced.

chopped zucchini

Chopped zucchini.

thinly sliced red onion

Thinly sliced red onion.

Basil from a tube. Stays fresh longer, still tastes like basil.

basil from a tube

Basil from a tube.







Red onions and zucchini go into the fry pan.

red onions and zucchini into the fry pan

Red onions and zucchini into the fry pan.

Peppers and basil are added.

basil and peppers go in there too

Basil and peppers go in there too.

There are tomatoes called for in the recipe, but no instructions on what to do with them. I added them after the peppers and basil.

all the vegetables

All the vegetables.


served, family style

Served, family style.

Rigatoni with Peppers, Zucchini and Garlic Mayonnaise.

rigatoni with peppers, zucchini and garlic mayonnaise

Rigatoni with Peppers, Zucchini and
Garlic Mayonnaise.

From The Savory Way by Deborah Madison, 1990
The recipe is here:

Rigatoni with Peppers, Zucchini and Garlic Mayonnaise

Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

1 each: red bell pepper, yellow bell pepper
Vegetable oil
2 tablespoons virgin olive oil
1 small red onion, quartered, thinly sliced crosswise
2 medium-sized zucchini, cut in 1/2-inch squares
Handful of basil leaves, lightly chopped or cut into strips
3/4 pound rigatoni, penne or other tubular pasta
1 large or 2 medium-sized tomatoes, peeled, seeded, chopped
Garlic mayonnaise, recipe follows
Freshly ground pepper

1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Slice the peppers in half, brush them on both sides with vegetable oil, and set them, cut side down, on a baking sheet. Bake until the skins have become wrinkled and loose, about 25 minutes. Let them cool then pull off the skins. Cut the peppers into small squares. While the peppers are roasting, put a large pot of water on to boil for the pasta.

2. Heat the 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large frying pan or sauté pan; add the onion and zucchini and salt lightly. Cook over medium heat until the onion is soft and the zucchini has started to colour, about 5 minutes. Shake the pan every so often to keep things from sticking. Add the peppers, tomatoes and half the basil.

3. When the water boils, add salt to taste and the pasta and cook until it is al dente. Ladle a little of the water into a serving bowl to warm it; then drain the pasta. Combine the pasta with the vegetables, stir in the mayonnaise, and gently mix everything together. Season with plenty of pepper and garnish with the remaining basil. Or serve the vegetables and pasta on individual plates with a spoonful of the sauce in the middle and let each person mix his or her own.

Garlic Mayonnaise or Aioli

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Yield: 1 cup

4-8 garlic cloves
Salt, coarse if available
1 egg yolk, at room temperature
3/4 cup light olive or peanut oil
Juice of 1 lemon
Good-quality virgin olive oil
Hot water

1. Pound the garlic with a couple of pinches of coarse salt until it has thoroughly broken down into a smooth puree. Add the yolk and whisk until thick and slightly sticky; then begin adding the light oil, at first drop by drop, until the sauce begins to thicken, and then in a thin, steady stream, whisking constantly. When the oil has been incorporated, stir in the lemon juice, then whisk in several tablespoons of the heavier virgin oil to taste.

2. Add hot water by the tablespoon to thin the sauce. It should be thick but pourable, not a dense, quivering mass. Taste and season, as needed, with more salt and lemon juice. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. Alternatively, once the garlic has been pounded, the mayonnaise can be made in a blender or food processor. The method is the same, but use a whole egg instead of just the yolk.

(Note: If you would like to make a vegan version of this, substitute Roasted Garlic Vegenaise for the aioli.)


3 thoughts on “Rigatoni with Peppers, Zucchini and Garlic Mayonnaise

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