I’m making 3-cheese baked rigatoni tonight! I’m mildly excited. I’ve never actually had it (at least this particular recipe) (shock!), so I’m anxious to see how it turns out. Anyway, here’s what you need.
(probably more garlic than is strictly necessary, but I like it, so it can stay.)
For the pasta:
- 12 oz. ground mild Italian sausage
- 1 lb. rigatoni pasta
- ½ large onion, diced
- 2 large zucchinis, quartered and sliced
- 10 oz. crimini mushrooms, sliced
- Pasta sauce (ingredients below)
- 15 oz. low fat ricotta cheese
- 7 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
- ½ tsp. sea salt
- ½ tsp. black pepper
- ¼ C. shredded parmesan cheese
For the sauce:
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 large onion, diced
- 1/2 cup red wine (whatever you have on hand)
- 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp pepper
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp marjoram
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- around 8 basil leaves, chiffonade (or less, if you prefer… wimp.)
Mildly daunting, yes, but bear with me here. I promise it won’t be so bad.
Actually, I can’t promise that, because I’ve never made this before. Oh well! Moving on!
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
Boil your rigatoni in salted water for 10ish minutes or until it’s slightly under al dente (it’ll cook more in the oven). Drain, and set aside.
Fry up your sausage in a skillet with some olive oil* until it’s done (no more pink!), and set it aside but DON’T CLEAN THE PAN. Leave all those fabulous juices in there.
Add the onions to the pan and cook ’em till they’re golden brown and yummy-smelling. I added pepper to mine because… well, because I could. And that’s just how I roll.
Add your zucchini and mushrooms, and cook the whole mess until all the veggies are tender. Add the snausage back into the pan. I may or may not have forgotten to add the snausage back to the pan until I had already stirred the ricotta cheese in…😀
Turn the heat on LOW, and wait until your sauce is done, which I’ll show you how to do now. Or, if you’re using sauce from a bottle, just add it in and skip the whole “amazingness that is homemade sauce” thing.
Sautee your onions in a medium saucepan over medium-high until they’re soft, and add your garlic in. Cook that for 30 seconds or so until the garlic is browned.
I forgot this next step, but don’t be like me. Add your red wine, and let it reduce by about half (2-3 minutes mayhap), and then proceed.
Dump in your canned tomatoes (if you’re willing to do a little extra work, you could use fresh tomatoes, but I’m lazy), trying not to splatter them all over the place, making your kitchen look like a crime scene. I may or may not be speaking from experience.
Silly camera, making everything all blurry.
Add your spices and basil, and stir well to combine. Cook for a few minutes, and add your sugar in. I definitely did not do that in order. Oh, well.
Cook that entire mixture for a good five to ten minutes to let all those flavors marry, and then add that succulent sauce to your veggie/snausage pan, bringing it up to a simmer and cooking for two minutes.
Add the ricotta cheese, and stir gently to combine.
Add half your mozzarella and parm, and wait till it’s melted and gooey to add the second half, making sure to save a little for the top.
Add your pasta (which should already be cooked and drained and stuck back in a pot) to the sauce stuff and stir to combine.
So messy, but so, so good.
Pour the entire thing into a greased 9×13 baking pan, top it with your remaining mozzarella and parmesean, and bake it for 15 minutes.
Top with basil sprigs or chiffonade and serve immediately.