Baked Rigatoni- Comfort Food at its Best…

Hi Everyone,

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I hope your January is going well. I can’t believe we are two weeks into the new year already and time just flies by.

I am enjoying the long holiday weekend with Bob and we are rearranging the kitchen cabinets. I do this every January, especially after the cooking frenzy from the holidays.

I make sure I am fully stocked on dried spices, pasta, and all canned goods that I use often and re-stock my baking supplies.

On days like this when the kitchen will be turned upside down, I like to have an easy meal to prepare that won’t take too much of my time. And that meal would be my Crusty Baked Rigatoni. Always a crowd pleaser.

This is my son’s favorite dish and he always requests this when he comes home for a visit.

It is also a good potluck meal and my official “New Mom” meal. I can’t tell you how many times I have dropped off a baked rigatoni, tossed salad and a loaf of Italian bread along with a baby gift for a new mom that comes home from the hospital and the last thing they need is to cook dinner. (PS- it freezes well too).

So, I wanted to re-post this recipe in case you have one of those days when you want something simple or even a lazy Sunday where you don’t want to fuss too much with dinner and have nice delicious comfort food.

I hope you try the recipe and enjoy it……

CRUSTY BAKED RIGATONI

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 lb rigatoni
  • Olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 ½ lb. ground beef or ground turkey
  • ½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 TBSP dried oregano
  • 1 TBSP Italian seasonings
  • 1 large can (28 oz) peeled tomatoes
  • 1 8 oz can of “no salt added” tomato sauce
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 Cups whole milk mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the rigatoni, stir well, and cook according to package directions. Drain the rigatoni, place in a large bowl, and toss with a little olive oil to prevent sticking. Set it aside.

In the same pot, heat approx 2 TBSP olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, and garlic and cook, stirring until soft (approx. 5 minutes)

Add the meat and cook stirring to break up the meat, until no pink remains (approx 10 minutes). Drain off all of the fat (I use a large colander and then return to the pot).

Add the parsley, oregano, Italian seasoning and tomatoes, and tomato sauce and stir well. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, until the tomatoes break down (approx 20 minutes)

Stir in the heavy cream, raise the heat, and return to a boil. Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper. Return the rigatoni to the pot and toss well.

Oil the bottom of a shallow 3 qt baking dish. Spread half of the pasta mixture on the bottom of the dish. Sprinkle half the mozzarella. Top with the remaining pasta, the remaining mozzarella, and all of the Parmesan cheese.

Bake until the pasta is crusty and golden brown (approx 30 minutes). Remove from the oven, let stand for 5 minutes and serve. (Serves 6).

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Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,

Diane

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