ITALIAN RIGATONI BAKE
• 1 pound ground beef
• 1 pound ground Italian “mild” sausage
• 1 large onion, chopped
• 1 28 ounce can petite diced tomatoes with juice
• 1 8 ounce can tomato sauce
• 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
• 1 16 ounce box rigatoni pasta
• 1 15 ounce tub whole mile ricotta cheese
• 1 egg
• 12 ounce shredded mozzarella cheese
• 1/4 Cup grated parmesan cheese
• 2 Tablespoon olive oil
• 3 Teaspoon Italian seasoning
• pinch red pepper flakes
• pinch of salt and pepper
• dried basil
-In a large skillet, over med. high heat add the olive oil and onions and sauté till tender [about 5minutes.]
-Add in the ground beef and sausage and cook until browned and cooked through. Drain the grease, leaving a little in the pan for moisture.
-Add in the garlic, canned tomatoes with juice and the tomato sauce.
-Stir well, add in 2 Teaspoons Italian seasoning, pinch of salt and pepper and red pepper flakes. Once combined, remove 1 Cup to a bowl and set aside to cool.
-Cover remaining sauce and simmer on low for 20minutes.
-While the meat sauce is simmering, bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the pasta with 1 Tablespoon of salt till tender.
-In another bowl, combine ricotta cheese, 1 beaten egg, 1 Cup of mozzarella cheese, 1 teaspoon italian seasoning and the parmesan cheese.
-When pasta is done, drain and add to the ricotta mixture stir to combine.
-Add the cooled sauce to the pasta and combine.
-In a 10×13 deep sided dish, lightly grease with cooking spray.
-Layer 1/2 of the noodle mixture in the bottom, top with 1/2 of the meat mixture then 1/2 of the cheese.
-Repeat for the final layer and sprinkle with dried basil on top of the cheese.
-Bake at 350°degrees for 45minutes or until cheese is browning and casserole is bubbly.
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