Monday, August 29, 2011

Cheesy Baked Rigatoni with Chunky Roasted Tomato Sauce

There is something so inherently comforting about baked pasta. I love the moment I take it out of the oven and it is oozing with melted cheese and bubbling gently. The whole house smells amazing! The best noodle in baked pastas is something wide and short, such as rigatoni. For this version I combined a homemade chunky tomato sauce made of fresh Roma tomatoes and canned fire-roasted tomatoes with cream cheese, and it made a smokey, creamy and heavenly sauce. The pasta can be baked in individual ramekins or in a large casserole dish. Add chicken sausage for even more flavor. Enjoy!

Cheesy Baked Rigatoni with Chunky Roasted Tomato Sauce
An ultra comforting and delicious baked pasta!
Serves 4

3/4 pound rigatoni
10 Roma tomatoes, peeled*
1 28 oz. can fire roasted tomatoes
4 oz. pancetta, diced
4 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
6 oz. fresh mozzarella, sliced
1 onion, diced
3 carrots, diced
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup red wine
1 cup fresh basil leaves
1 T. dried Italian herb blend
1 T. sugar
Kosher salt and black pepper
Extra virgin olive oil

Heat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large pot or Dutch oven heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add pancetta and cook until crisp. Remove and drain on a paper towel. Add another tablespoon of oil to the pancetta drippings. Add onions and carrots, sprinkle with salt, and saute until soft, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and stir for 2 minutes, then add dried herbs and stir. Pour in 1/2 cup of red wine and use wooden spoon to scrape up any brown bits on the bottom.

Add the Roma tomatoes and use a potato masher to break them up. Cook for 10 minutes, then add can of fire roasted tomatoes and mash again. Add basil leaves, sugar, and 1 tablespoon salt. Cook over medium-low heat for 30 minutes. Add remaining 1/2 cup of wine and stir. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Remove from heat.

Cook pasta in boiling water for 5 minutes shy of the cooking time on the package. Pasta will be underdone but will finish cooking when baked. Drain and pour back into pasta pot.

Add cream cheese to noodles and stir to combine. Then add enough tomato sauce to completely saturate noodles. Reserve any remaining sauce. 

Pour pasta into a large casserole dish or individual ramekins, greased. Spread fresh mozzarella slices over the top and sprinkle with dried herbs. Cover with tin foil and bake for 20 minutes, then remove tin foil and bake an additional 20 minutes. Let set for 10 minutes before serving. Top with fresh herbs, cooked chicken sausage, or meatballs if desired.

Recipe by Sarah Lang

*To peel tomoatoes boil them for 1 minute, then shock in ice water. The peel will slide right off!

No comments:

Post a Comment