Last June 1st, I finally moved into a house with a roommate. And while I could’ve done the moving all by myself, I was lucky enough to get a hand from my awesome guy. HAHA So to thank him, I made him supper. I also indulged myself by breaking my half-year pork fast, by making Baked Rigatoni with Italian Sausage.
In reality this supper is more than a thank you, it’s also a “I’m sorry for dismissing your liking for arrabiata sauce and for being a food snob.” See a few weeks ago while taking a leisurely walk, we came across a menu that said arrabiata sauce and I, being the pig-headed food snob that I usually am — there really is no shame in that, waved it off and said “It’s only tomato sauce!” And my simple food, picky guy didn’t like it, at all. He said it made him feel bad. I do acknowledge though that the simplest meals can be the best. The ones that bring you back “home”. And this pasta dish, brings me back to my mine and my mom’s guilty pleasure of pigging out with Conti’s Baked Ziti.
- 1 can (24 oz) crushed tomatoes
- 1 can (6 oz) tomato paste
- 1 small onion, finely diced.
- 1 tbsp. garlic, minced (use more if preferred – I did!)
- 1 tbsp. EVOO
- crushed chili flakes
- salt and pepper
(spices were eye balled and to taste)
Heat olive oil in a medium sauce pan, add onions and sweat until translucent. Add garlic and stir. Add tomato paste and cook for a few minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes. Add spices start with ½ tsp and adjust seasoning according to taste.
***Some people prefer a lot of heat in their arrabiata. I prefer mine a little milder than usual. Plus, I’m adding spicy Italian sausage so I figured that I will just adjust the seasoning when I finish the dish.
Baked Rigatoni and Italian Sausage
- 1 package Italian Sausage (I used Johnsonville’s Mild Italian Sausage, 5 sausages per pack)
- 1-2 cups prepared arrabiata sauce
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 1 ½ lbs. rigatoni pasta, cooked
- Mozzarella cheese, grated – as much as you want
- Parmesan cheese, grated – as much as you want
- Fresh basil, chiffonade
- Salt and pepper, to taste
In a hot non stick pan, crumble the Italian sausage, sauté and break it down as much as you can. Add minced garlic (I love garlic!). Cook sausage and then add arrabiata sauce. Bring to a simmer. Toss 2/3 of sauce in rigatoni pasta. Add some of the grated cheeses. Mix well. Transfer to a casserole. Top with remaining sauce, more grated cheese and pop in the oven and broil until cheese is bubbly and browned. Garnish with basil leaves before serving.
***There was a Tuxedo Cheesecake, which will be posted later! 🙂