Baked Rigatoni

I had a craving for Italian food yesterday, but didn’t want to mess with the time it takes to make lasagna.  Heading to the store, we decided to make Baked Ziti, but our store didn’t have any Ziti noodles (WTH!).  We went with Rigatoni noodles and made such a great dish!

Ingredients:

Rigatoni noodles – 16 oz. box (or Ziti, if YOU can find it!)

Marinara sauce – we made our own, but any jar sauce is fine

One pound of ground beef, seasoned, cooked and drained

One 15 oz. container of Ricotta cheese

8 oz. Mozzarella cheese

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

For our semi-homemade marinara sauce, we use a packet mix (with tomato paste.)  Following the instructions on the packet, make the sauce, and add the cooked ground beef to the sauce and allow to simmer for at least 15 minutes.  We then added in some roasted red pepper and Peppadew peppers, just to give it a little more flavor!

Cook the pasta according to the directions on the box.  While that is cooking, combine the Ricotta, Mozzarella and Parmesan together, leaving 1/4 of the Mozzarella and Parmesan for topping the Rigatoni.

Add in about half of the marinara sauce and fold into the cheese mixture.  Once the pasta has cooked and been drained, add it into the cheese and sauce mix and stir together until well-blended.  Place in a baking pan and pour the remaining sauce over the pasta, spreading to make sure to cover all of the pasta.  Then top with the remaining Mozzarella and Parmesan.  Place in a 375 degree, pre-heated over and bake for 30 minutes.

That’s it!  Maybe grab some Italian bread or a baguette, a light salad, and a pillow, too, because you’ll definitely want a nap when this yummy dish is eaten!!!

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