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Rania Harris stopped by PTL to cook up two more delicious recipes!

Rigatoni with Tomato Pesto Sauce

  • 1 box chopped tomatoes
  • ½ cup Basil pesto, store-bought or homemade
  • Crushed red pepper (optional)
  • Fresh basil leaves, torn to taste
  • Grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 pound rigatoni pasta
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • ¼ to 1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
  • ½ cup water


In a large and deep cooking skillet with a lid, over medium heat, combine the chopped tomatoes, tomato sauce, water, and basil pesto. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally until thickened, about 15 minutes.

While the sauce is simmering, cook the rigatoni in boiling water according to package instructions to al dente. Drain, reserving about 1 cup of cooking water in case you need it later for the sauce.

Add the cooked pasta to the simmering sauce. Stir to make sure pasta is well coated with the sauce. If needed, add just a little bit of the pasta cooking water.

To serve, garnish with quality grated Parmesan cheese, toasted pine nuts, fresh basil, and a pinch of crushed red pepper.

Serves: 4

Greek Meat and Potato Casserole

For Meat Sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground allspice
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons coriander
  • ½ teaspoon sweet Spanish paprika
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 28-ouonce can peeled tomatoes
  • ½ cup water

For Potatoes:

  • 1-1/2 pounds gold potatoes, peeled and cut into wedges
  • 3 large carrots, peeled, halved length-wise, then cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 red bell pepper, cored and sliced into medium strips
  • Salt and pepper
  • ¾ teaspoon allspice
  • ¾ teaspoon coriander
  • Water as needed
  • ½ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley for garnishing the casserole


Heat oven to 375 degrees.

To make the meat sauce, in a large non-stick skillet, heat 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil. Add chopped onions and cook, tossing regularly, until translucent. Add garlic and cook for another 30 seconds or so. Add the ground beef, break it up with a wooden spoon. Season with spices, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring regularly, until fully browned. Add the peeled tomatoes and water. Using your wooden spoon, smash or break up the tomatoes a bit. Bring to a boil, then lower heat, cover and let the meat sauce simmer for 10 minutes. Add a little more water, if necessary. Taste and adjust salt and pepper.

In a 9 x 13-inch greased baking pan, arrange the potato wedges, carrots, and bell peppers. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with allspice and coriander. Toss to combine. Add ¾ cup of water, then top with the meat sauce.

Cover the baking pan with foil and bake in heated oven for 30 minutes or so. Uncover and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Remove from oven and top with fresh chopped parsley.

Serves: 6