Baked Rigatoni with Ricotta and Sausage
To complete the menu, toss fresh mixed baby greens with vinaigrette. Whisk together 1 1/2 Tbs. red wine vinegar, 1 minced shallot and 1/3 cup olive oil. Season the vinaigrette with salt and freshly ground pepper, dress the salad and serve.
- 2 Tbs. olive oil, plus more for brushing dish
- 1 lb. Italian sausage, casings removed
- 3 cups roasted tomato sauce
- 1 cup coarsely chopped pitted black Mediterranean olives
- 2 Tbs. salt, plus more, to taste
- Freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 1 lb. rigatoni
- 1 3/4 cups ricotta cheese
- 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Prepare the sauce
Preheat an oven to 350°F. Lightly oil a deep 2 1/2-quart baking dish. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat.
In a large fry pan over medium-high heat, warm the 2 Tbs. olive oil. Add the sausage and sauté, breaking it up with a spoon, until browned, about 6 minutes. Drain any excess fat from the pan. Stir in the tomato sauce and olives, and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Cook the pasta
Meanwhile, add the 2 Tbs. salt and the pasta to the boiling water. Cook, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, until the pasta is not quite al dente (tender but firm to the bite), about 2 minutes less than the package instructions. Drain, rinse under cold running water and drain again.
Bake the pasta
Return the pasta to the cooking pot. Stir in the tomato sauce and ricotta. Spread the pasta and sauce in the prepared dish and sprinkle with the Parmigiano-Reggiano. Bake until the surface is golden and bubbly, about 25 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes and serve. Serves 4 to 6.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Food Made Fast Series, Make Ahead, by Rick Rodgers (Oxmoor House, 2008).