“Life is what happens while your busy making other plans.” We both have a lot going on, leaving very little time for this piece of my heart. I will get back to regular posting soon, and I promise to end the year with a bang! Meanwhile, I want to share this quick and easy casserole with you. It saved us from expensive takeout Monday night.
After spending the weekend pruning, planting, mowing, trimming, mulching and composting, neither of us were anxious to grocery shop and then cook. After digging through the pantry and the refrigerator, we came up with this version of baked rigatoni. Not your typical Memorial Day fare, but a great week night meal. This recipe makes about 8 servings; enough to freeze for a future “I don’t feel like cooking” dinner. Enjoy!
Laura’s Baked Rigatoni
1 package Rigatoni, Ziti or Penne dry pasta (about 12 ounces) – cooked al dente, drained and cooled
1 jar of your favorite pasta sauce, about 24 ounces
1 can diced tomatoes, drained, about 14 ounces
1 large red bell pepper, chopped
1 sweet yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
8 ounces crimini mushrooms, sliced
1 small eggplant, diced into 3/4″ cubes
2 lbs. Italian Chicken sausage
1 12 ounce package mozzarella cheese, cut into small cubes
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
salt and pepper
2-4 tablespoons of olive oil
Prepare the pasta al dente, according to package directions. Do not overcook. Drain the pasta and let it cool in the colander.
Prepare a large baking dish / casserole by lightly spraying with oil. Pre-heat the oven to 350′.
Heat 2 Tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet, over medium high heat. Add the onions, garlic, bell pepper and eggplant. Saute about 10 minutes, until vegetables are softened. Transfer to a large mixing bowl. Add another Tablespoon of oil to the pan and sauté the mushrooms, about 6 minutes, until soft. Transfer the mushrooms to the mixing bowl. Add the last Tablespoon of oil to the pan and brown the sausage thoroughly. Remove the pan from the heat and let the sausage cool down a bit. Transfer the sausage to the mixing bowl. Add the cooled pasta, diced tomatoes, pasta sauce, Italian seasoning and mozzarella cubes to the mixing bowl. Mix thoroughly. Taste for salt and pepper and add accordingly.
Pour the mixture into the baking dish. Top with the grated parmesan cheese. Cover with foil and bake until bubbly, about 40 minutes. Remove the foil and cook another 10 minutes.
Enjoy with crusty bread and a crisp green salad.
Thanks for visiting. Have a wonderful evening.
In memory of our beautiful kitty, Phoebe.