This post is sponsored by Barilla. As always, all opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting the brands that make Sincerely, Lauren possible.

We have a pretty set routine during the week. While the girls are at school every day, Macks and I run our errands and he helps me pile through my long list of to-dos. On Thursdays we tackle a chore that doesn’t feel like anything daunting. It’s become something that I look forward to and it’s an adventure we love to take together. We drive to the local farmer’s market. It’s packed with local farms, restaurants, bakeries, delis, florists, and more. While Macks munches on a pizza made with local ingredients, I shop for our fruit, veggies, and meat for the week. It’s a bonding time that I’ve learned to become very fond of.

I cherish this time being able to shop for fresh ingredients for my family, but I also know how fortunate I am to be able to do this. It’s a luxury for us. And it’s not one that I take for granted.

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There are people that not only don’t get fresh foods, but that don’t get food at all. And that needs to change. September is Hunger Action Month and during this month, Food Bank For New York City, the city’s major hunger relief organization, is launching its 11th annual month long Go Orange to End Hunger™ campaign, presented by Barilla.

One in five New Yorkers is food insecure. The meal gap, the number of meals missing from the homes of those struggling to put food on the table, for New York City is nearly 242 million. That is, New York City residents who experience food insecurity fall short of an adequate diet by 242 million meals in a single year. New York City’s meal gap makes up over half of New York State’s meal gap.

Living in Manhattan for five years, I am sad to say that I saw this devastation first hand. And not only did I see it, but my children saw it too. And they asked questions, lots of questions. But rather than telling them about the problem, I want to show them how we can be the solution. And we can. Barilla is joining Food Bank For New York City as Presenting Sponsor of “Go Orange To End Hunger,™ to rally New Yorkers to join them in volunteering, donating and advocating for neighbors in need. Barilla will “Go Orange” on September 6th through 9th, as they “Share The Table™” with more than 1,500 New Yorkers who typically rely on soup kitchens and food pantries.

It’s this staggering statistic that breaks my heart and encourages me to get involved and do something about it. And I hope you’ll help me too. During the week of September 12th, Barilla will rally everyone across the five boroughs to “Go Orange With Barilla.” They will make a total donation of 500,000 meals to Food Bank For New York City for New Yorkers in need. Barilla will also give away 20,000 “Recipe for Wonderful” pasta dinner kits to New Yorkers. In return, they hope to raise awareness and inspire New Yorkers to volunteer, donate and/or advocate around this important mission. Barilla will donate another pasta serving for each New Yorker who can donate, advocate or sign-up to volunteer on-site, up to 1 ton of pasta. Barilla will also donate for every use of the hashtag #GoOrangeWithBarilla. You can find out how to participate here.

Every Sunday, the kids help me in the kitchen for our weekly Pasta Sunday. We cook a favorite pasta dish and then enjoy the meal as a family. We sit together as a family and it gives us the perfect start for our week ahead. It’s a blessing. And it’s a blessing that not everyone has. We should never take for granted being able to sit around the table and enjoy a family meal together. That’s why I want you and I to join forces with Barilla to support the Food Bank for New York City and their massive effort to end hunger throughout the month of September.

To help inspire you to help those in need, I’m sharing one of my favorite fall pasta dishes featuring our favorite, Barilla Rigatoni. This is a hearty dish that’s full of fresh ingredients and packed with veggies that the kids never even know are in there!

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Hearty Rigatoni Ragu

What You Will Need:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 box Barilla Collezione Rigatoni
  • 1 pound of lean ground beef
  • 5 cloves of garlic (minced)
  • ¼ cup of finely chopped red onion
  • 2 pints of grape tomatoes
  • ⅓ cup of finely chopped carrots
  • ⅓ cup of finely chopped celery
  • ⅓ red wine (I used Cabernet Sauvignon)
  • 2 tbsp of tomato paste
  • 6oz spinach
  • 2 sprigs of fresh oregano

Directions:

  1. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a pan on medium. Put onion and garlic in pan and saute until onion is clear, careful not to burn garlic.
  2. Place ground beef in pan with garlic and onion and cook until brown.
  3. Drain when done and place aside.
  4. In other pan, place 1 tbsp of olive oil with tomatoes and cover.
  5. Saute tomatoes until tender enough to squish easily with the back of a spoon (about 4 minutes.)
  6. Put carrots, celery, red wine, and tomato paste into pan with tomatoes.
  7. Let simmer for 20 minutes on medium heat.
  8. Place meat mixture and spinach in with tomato mixture and mix.
  9. Place oregano leaves on top of mixture.
  10. Let simmer on medium-low for 20 minutes.
  11. Remove oregano sprigs after 20 minutes and discard.
  12. While sauce is simmering, boil water for Barilla Rigatoni. Cook Rigatoni according to instructions on box.
  13. When Barilla Rigatoni is cooked (al dente,) drain Rigatoni and put into ragu sauce.
  14. Mix well and let simmer on low for 15 minutes.
  15. Garnish with parmesan cheese and chopped italian parsley (optional.)
  16. Enjoy!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Barilla. The opinions and text are all mine.

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