Sausage Ragu + Rigatoni
This was one of the easiest baked pasta dishes, and it might seem like a lot of steps and ingredients, don't let that fray you. It was easy, full of flavor, and a good choice for a weeknight meal. I omitted the yellow bell peppers, wanting to save money, and I didn't really think it would heighten the flavor profile. Sorry for the lack of photo, this was one of the few dishes I accidentally burned the cheesy topping! From Cuisine Tonight's Italian, the dish serves 5-6.
- 8oz dry rigatoni [this may not seem a lot, but it is actually a good portion. I, however, increased it to 12 oz]
- 12 oz bulk Italian sausage
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup diced yellow bell peppers
- 3/4 cup diced onion
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 tbsp minced fresh garlic
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 2 tsp dried basil
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 cup dry red wine
- 1 can (28oz) crushed tomatoes
- 1 tsp sugar
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- 2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella
- Chopped fresh basil
- Cook pasta in a pot of boiling salted water according to package directions; drain. Coat a 9x13-inch baking dish with nonstick spray. Preheat broiler with rack 6 inches from element.
- Brown sausage in oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, 5 minutes. Add bell peppers and onion; cook until soft, 5 minutes. Stir in tomato paste, garlic, oregano, dried basil, and pepper flakes; sauté until fragrant, 1 minute.
- Deglaze pan with wine; increase heat to high and cook liquid until it nearly evaporates. Stir in tomatoes and sugar, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer sauce until thickened, 15 minutes. Season sauce with salt and pepper.
- Transfer pasta to prepared baking dish and top with ragu. Sprinkle mozzarella over ragu.
- Broil pasta until cheese is bubbly, 3-4 minutes. Garnish servings with fresh basil.