Fried Rigatoni Poppers with Sausage

Michael Symon
Servings: 6 - 8
1 to 2 hr


  • Ingredients
  • step-by-step directions
For the Filling:
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil (divided)
  • 1 pound Italian sausage (removed from casings)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella (grated)
  • 1/3 cup parmesan (grated)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
For the Rigatoni Poppers:
  • 1/2 pound rigatoni
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs (beaten)
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 3/4 cup parmesan (grated, divided)
  • 1/2 cup basil (to serve)
  • 1/2 cup marinara sauce (warmed, to serve)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
  • For the Filling: Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat add olive oil. Add the sausage and cook, breaking up with the back of a spoon or potato masher, until browned, about 7-9 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and set aside.
  • In a saucepan over medium heat add the butter. When the butter has melted, whisk in the flour. Slowly stream in the milk and whisk until smooth. Bring to a simmer and cook until thickened, about 8 minutes. Add nutmeg, mozzarella, and parmesan cheese and stir until melted and combined. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and set aside. Add the béchamel to the bowl with sausage and mix to combine. Once cool, transfer to piping bags.
  • For the Rigatoni Poppers: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the rigatoni and cook until par-cooked, about 5-6 minutes. Rinse under cold water, toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil and allow to cool on baking sheet.
  • Pipe sausage and bechamel mixture into each side of the rigatoni to fill. Repeat process with the rest of rigatoni and carefully arrange on a baking sheet. Freeze until set, about 30 minutes.
  • Heat oil in a large pot until it reaches 360ºF. Place a baking rack inside a baking sheet.
  • Meanwhile, prepare a dredging station. In the first baking dish add flour, and season with salt and pepper. In the second baking dish add eggs, and in the third add bread crumbs and a 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese, stirring to combine.
  • Remove the rigatoni from the freezer and dredge in the flour, shaking off any excess. Dip in the eggs then dredge in the bread crumb mixture, shaking off any excess. Add to fry oil and cook until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Remove to the prepared baking sheet and season with salt. Repeat with remaining rigatoni poppers.
  • To serve, top with parmesan, basil, and serve with a marinara sauce.
  • Tip: Use any leftover filling in a lasagna or over some cooked noodles!
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