Savory Italian sausage and sautéed mushrooms impart a spicy heat to this cheesy rigatoni. Toss a simple green salad while the pasta bakes, and serve with a nice dry red wine. It’s a foolproof meal, perfect for a delightful Sunday dinner with great weeknight or lunchtime leftovers
- 2 TB extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 2 TB garlic, minced
- 1 cup yellow onion, small diced
- 1-1/2 lbs white mushrooms, quartered
- 1/2 cup red wine
- pinch crushed red pepper (optional)
- 2 lbs Italian sausage, cut into small, bite-sized pieces
- 1 lb frozen spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry
- 1 lb Natural By Nature ricotta cheese
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup parmigiana-reggiano cheese, grated
- 2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 lb rigatoni pasta
- 2 jars (26 oz each) prepared marinara sauce
- 1/2 lb mozzarella, shredded
Heat one tablespoon of the olive oil in a sauté pan. Add the garlic, onions and mushrooms and sauté until the mushrooms have released most of their liquid and the onions are translucent. Add the red wine and crushed red pepper and continue to cook until the red wine has evaporated. Remove from the pan and set aside.
Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil to the same pan and add the sausage. Cook until the sausage is fully cooked and browned. Remove from the pan and add to the mushroom mixture.
In a large bowl, combine the spinach, ricotta cheese, egg, parmigiana-reggiano cheese, salt and black pepper and mix well. Add the mushrooms and sausage to this mixture.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta in rapidly boiling water until al dente and drain.
Add the cooked pasta and marinara sauce to the ricotta mixture and mix well until fully combined. Transfer to a roasting pan and top with the mozzarella cheese. Cover with aluminum foil and bake in a 350 F oven for approximately 30 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake until browned on top and fully heated through.