Baked Rigatoni with Broccoli & Mozzarella
So, it’s a Sunday afternoon and I’m trying to figure out what to make for dinner. Sometimes, being prepared with a meal plan, unthawing meat, etc. doesn’t always go as planned. So I did a quick look through our pantry and came up with a simple, nutritious, and quick dinner idea that would satisfy everyone. Check out our Baked Rigatoni with Broccoli & Mozzarella. Here’s another great example of using the ingredients you have on hand to create something different enough to pique everyone’s appetite curiosity. Because at times it isn’t what you make, but how you make it. This recipe is more casserole, or better yet, has more in common with a lasagna than anything else. I also took the topping to whole new level of delicious. In addition to the Mozzarella cheese, I added garlicky pan-fried broccoli. Yup, I did it this time and it totally paid off. So, don’t be afraid of stepping outside of the normal because you just might discover something totally badbutt in the process. Take a gander down below to see exactly what this yummy recipe is all about!
- 1 1/2 lbs Rigatoni
- 2 cups Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
- 1 lbs Italian Sausage
- 1/2 cup Sweet Red Bell Pepper, Diced
- 1/4 cup Flat-Leaf Parsley, chopped
- 1 Medium Sweet Onion, diced
- 4 Garlic Cloves, Minced using a garlic press
- 3 1/2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 2 cups Broccoli, chopped
- 1 – 2 jars of your favorite Marinara or Spaghetti Sauce
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Add two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil to a medium-size skillet over medium-high heat. Add diced onions and sauté until slightly translucent. Add the Italian Sausage and using a wooden spoon break apart the meat. When the Italian Sausage is brown remove skillet from the heat and set aside.
- Prepare Rigatoni pasta according to the package directions.
- While the pasta is cooking dice the red sweet bell peppers, run 2 garlic cloves through a garlic press, and chop the flat-leaf parsley, set these ingredients aside. Chop the broccoli as well, but reserve it in a separate bowl.
- When the Rigatoni is al dente strain off the water using a colander, return the pasta to the pot and toss with a tablespoon of EVOO, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Add the tomato sauce, Italian sausage, garlic, red peppers, flat-leaf parsley and one cup of Mozzarella cheese, mix well and spoon mixture into a large casserole dish.
- Place in preheated oven on the center rack and cook for 35 minutes.
- While the dish is baking add a half-tablespoon of EVOO to a skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot add the chopped broccoli and sauté for two minutes, after two minutes add the minced garlic and cook for another minute. Remove the broccoli from heat.
- After 35 minutes remove the Rigatoni from the oven, add the pan-roasted garlicky broccoli and top with the remaining cup of Mozzarella cheese. Return to the oven and broil until the cheese is bubbly and deliciously browned.
- Remove the Baked Rigatoni with Broccoli & Mozzarella from the oven and allow it to stand for 10 minutes.
Note: This recipe will also work well as a vegetarian dish and you try topping it with some of your families other favorite flavors, think kale, spinach, caramelized onion, or shredded carrots, etc. Switch out the red sauce for an carbonara, Alfredo, béchamel or any derivative of the mother sauces. Whatever you do, remember there are no rules. Just cook to what you like.