BAKED PASTA CASSEROLE

Baked pasta in cheesy tomato sauce is a tried-and-true comfort food. This hearty baked rigatoni is packed with mozzarella and ricotta cheese and classic Italian spices.

Yield: Serves 6.

BAKED PASTA CASSEROLE

Ingredients

  • 3 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 can (28 oz) diced plum tomatoes
  • 1 can (5 1/2 oz) tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp oregano, crumbled
  • 1 tsp basil, crumbled
  • 2 containers (500 g each) ricotta cheese
  • 2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Dash nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 lb (500 g) rigatoni
  • 3 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

  1. In a large frypan, sauté onions and garlic in oil until softened, about 10 minutes. Then add tomatoes, tomato paste, parsley, salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, honey, oregano and basil. Cover and simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions; drain.
  3. Combine ricotta cheese with Parmesan, mozzarella, nutmeg and 1/4 tsp pepper. Set aside.
  4. Spread 1 cup of sauce in bottom of a deep lasagna pan. Top with half of pasta, half of cheese mixture and half of remaining sauce. Repeat layers. Casserole may be prepared to this point and refrigerated for up to 24 hours or frozen for up to 1 month.
  5. Thaw in refrigerator before proceeding. Cover and bake at 350°F for 40 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle with 3 tbsp Parmesan cheese and bake an additional 20 - 25 minutes.
Nutritional analysis per serving:

488 calories, 16.9 g fat, 35 g protein, 51.4 g carbohydrate, 5.5 g fibre, 1218 mg sodium