Rigatoni & Italian Sausage Bake

Last night I made a wonderful meal from my 500 Casseroles recipe book. I love this cookbook line, because the recipes are pretty easy and straightforward, and the book is compact but jammed packed with great recipes and even better pictures. I hate cookbooks that don’t have pictures. How do I know what the dish is supposed to look like, or if I even want to make it? Have no fear, this book has tons of pictures and my meal looked almost as good as the one in the book. Not to toot my own horn or anything, but mama did good. Toot toot! I served my rigatoni bake with a side Cesar salad and another one of my attempts to create my own garlic bread recipe. Ehhh the bread wasn’t bad, but I am still working on it and trying to find the right garlic/cheese ratio.

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ lb. mild Italian sausage
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
  • salt ad freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • ½ cup tomato paste
  • 2 (28 oz.) cans whole tomatoes with liquid
  • 1 lb. uncooked rigatoni
  • 2 cups provolone
  • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh Italian parsley

Directions

Remove sausage from casings to form small chunks. Brown sausage in large, heavy saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Set browned sausage aside, and discard all but 2 tablespoons of fat. Sauté onion, garlic, herbs, salt, and pepper until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomato paste and continue cooking for 3 minutes. Add tomatoes with liquid. Break up tomatoes into smaller pieces and bring sauce to a boil. Return sausage to sauce and reduce heat to low. Simmer, uncovered, for 45 minutes, until sauce thickens.

Preheat oven to 375°F. In large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta for 6 minutes, until al dente. Drain and add to sauce. Add ¾ cup grated provolone and chopped parsley, and stir to combine. Transfer to a large (9×13-inch) rectangular casserole dish and top with remaining cheese. Cover casserole with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes, until hot and bubbly. Remove foil 10 minutes before the end of cooking to brown top of casserole.

Notes: This recipe could feed and army. Next time I will definitely cut the ingredients in half. However, it does keep very well and warms up perfectly.

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