Crusty and melty. Officially these descriptions are opposites. But not when you’re talking baked pasta, because then they go hand in hand. If there’s one thing better than pasta and sausage it’s pasta and sausage with melty layers of cheese baked through and crisped and crusted on top.
Talk about the ultimate cheese pull.
This sausage and cheese baked rigatoni is one that’s destined to become a family favorite, not just because it tastes incredible to everyone who eats it, but also because the cook in the kitchen is one happy chef because since the recipe is so easy to pull together thanks to a stash of DeLallo ingredients in the pantry.
Once again this year I’ve partnered with DeLallo Foods to create easy, family-friendly recipes, and I gotta say, they’re all winners through and through. Creating recipes using DeLallo products is honestly one of the most fun parts of this job.
1 lb. ground beef
1 1b. ground Italian “mild” sausage
1 large onion, chopped
1 28oz. can petite diced tomatoes with juice
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
1 T. minced garlic
1 16 oz. box rigatoni pasta
1 15oz. tub whole mile ricotta cheese
12 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 C. grated parmesan cheese
2 T. olive oil
3 tsp. Italian seasoning
pinch red pepper flakes
pinch of salt and pepper
In a large skillet, over med. high heat adds the olive oil and onions and sautés till tender (about 5 minutes), 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 tomato sauce.
Stir well, add in 2 tsp. Italian seasoning, a pinch of salt and pepper, and red pepper flakes. Once combined, remove 1 C. to a bowl and set aside to cool. Cover remaining sauce and simmer on low for 20 minutes.
While the meat sauce is simmering, bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the pasta with 1 T. of salt till tender. In another bowl, combine ricotta cheese, 1 beaten egg, 1 C. of mozzarella cheese, 1 tsp. Italian seasoning and the parmesan cheese.
When pasta is done, drain and add to the ricotta mixture stir to combine, and then 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 45 minutes or until cheese is browning and casserole is bubbly.