Baked Rigatoni

Sometimes I get really hungry

Sometimes I get really hungry

Sometimes I get hungry. Really hungry. And when I do I want the good stuff, the comfort food that will please my primal eating urges and leave me satisfied.  I want pasta, I want meat and I want it all covered in and filled with cheese.

This Baked Rigatoni has similarities with lasagna but I find it much easier to make. It has the tomato sauce, the noodles and the parmesan but this is all tossed together in a mad mixture instead of all those fussy layers that lasagna requires. This is probably a metaphor for my life; a toss-up of all the things I need in a messy pile as opposed to the neat order of  layering. I once met a mom who said that she had “categories” of diapers which she organized in her baby’s drawers. I said that I too had categories for diapers: Clean and Dirty. My baby clothes also have order- they are either in the laundry or in the drawer. I am (proudly) Not One of Those Moms who folds baby clothes. If they’re clean, in the drawer they go! If you are not a compulsive folder, layer-er, or organizer I’ve got a dinner idea for you.

Using a store-bought tomato pasta sauce makes life easier here (as opposed to making your own) and you can choose your favorite.  Because it is not fussy, this dish stores well in the freezer for future meals. What you don’t eat the first night you can parcel out into containers and store for later.

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 1 24oz jar pasta sauce
  • 1 cup pitted black olives rinsed and chopped
  • 1 lb bag rigatoni (regular or brown rice)
  • 15 oz Ricotta cheese
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Salt & pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 and lightly oil a 2 ½ quart baking dish. In a large frying pan over medium high heat warm the olive oil then add the sausage and sauté until it is browned. Drain any excess from the pan and stir in the tomato sauce and olives. Season with salt & pepper then set aside.

Meanwhile, fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Add the pasta with a teaspoon of salt and cook about 2 minutes less than the package directions, you want it to be al dente. Drain and rinse under cold water, rinse again.

Once it is completely drained, return the pasta to the cooking pot. Stir in the tomato sauce mixture and the ricotta. Spread the mixture in the prepared dish and sprinkle with Parmesan. Bake about 25 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes before serving.


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