Add a bit of pasta and cheese to my meat and I am a happy camper. There is something so simple and yet so freakin perfect about the harmonious blend of red sauce and carbs. Kicked up with some great hot Italian sausage from your local market, or home made if you are feeling bold, and that pasta and cheese combo becomes an indulgent dish that I can not resist. While I’m over here grabbing the stretchy yoga pants to enjoy this meal, consider what your perfect flavor combo is. Grab a glass of wine, and let’s talk food over this delicious three cheese and sausage rigatoni bake.
Two glasses of wine and we may not even bother to bake it.
- 6 oz whole wheat rigatoni
- 1 lbs bulk Italian hot sausage
- 1/2 onion, minced
- 2 gloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
- 2 tbs fresh snipped basil
- salt and pepepr
- 1/2 cup mozzarella, shredded or use mozzarella pearls
- 24 oz marinara sauce (or red pasta sauce of choice)
- 1/4 cup Parmesan, shredded
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 2 to 3 quart casserole dish or a 9x13 baking pan.
- Boil the pasta in a large pot of salted water to just al dente per instructions on box. Drain and rinse under cold water. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, in a skillet over medium-high heat, cook the hot sausage, onion, and garlic until the meat is well browned. Take time to break the sausage into small chunks as the meat browns. Drain off excess fat.
- Mix the ricotta with the salt, pepper, and basil.
- Mix the sausage, mozzarella and marinara sauce in the pasta pot. Add the pasta and stir to combine. Layer the pasta in the prepared pan with the ricotta, dolloping over the top and spreading out. Repeat the process 2 or thee times as your dish will allow. Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese.
- Bake for 20 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese is golden brown on top.
- Allow to cool 5 minutes before serving.