Sunday, March 13, 2011

Baked Rigatoni

Do you consider lasagna to be too much work to make? Baked rigatoni is lasagna's unpretentious and lazy cousin. You've still got meat sauce, melty cheese, and pasta, but it's not as fussy. The key to success here is slicing the cheese instead of grating it. I don't know why; the answer lies only with the pasta Gods.

My friend Courtney asked me for my baked ziti recipe recently. I had made it probably 5 years ago and then totally forgot about it. I didn't have the recipe anymore, so I've created a new one. This is just for you Courtney (ok fine, everyone else can have the recipe too).

Serves 8-10
Recipe can easily be halved

  • 900 g rigatoni or similar tubular pasta
  • 500 g lean ground beef
  • 650 ml jar of your favourite thick and chunky pasta sauce*
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 500 ml cottage cheese
  • 200 g mozzarella cheese, sliced
  • 200 g provolone cheese, sliced
 Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook pasta for half of the time stated on the package. Meanwhile brown beef in a large skillet. Drain liquid and add tomato sauce and tomatoes. Warm sauce until just starting to bubble. Mix meat sauce and pasta. Layer in a large baking dish half of pasta, top with cottage cheese and half of the sliced cheeses. Top with remaining pasta, then remaining cheese. Bake 40 minutes or until bubbling and cheese is starting to brown.

*I used this sauce that I love and buy all the time, but it was too thin. You want a hearty sauce here.

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