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Rigatoni & Spicy Sausage Casserole

  • 30 m
  • 1 h
Kathleen Desmond Stang
“Mushrooms have the perfect meaty texture to complement a modest amount of spicy Italian sausage in this baked rigatoni that has less than one-quarter the fat of the original. Whole-wheat pasta rather than white pasta makes our version a fiber powerhouse with 7 grams per serving. This delicious and cheesy pasta casserole freezes well so you might want to make an extra to have on hand for a ready-to-heat-and-eat meal.”

Ingredients

    • 4 ounces hot Italian sausage, (2 links)
    • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
    • 1 large onion, chopped
    • 3 cloves garlic, very finely chopped
    • 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
    • 1 teaspoon crumbled dried rosemary
    • 2 14-ounce cans diced tomatoes, or plum tomatoes (chopped)
    • ¼ cup dry red or white wine
    • ½ teaspoon salt, divided
    • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
    • 12 ounces whole-wheat rigatoni, mostaccioli or penne
    • ½ cup part-skim ricotta cheese
    • ¾ cup fresh breadcrumbs, preferably whole-wheat (see Tip)
    • ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

  • 1 Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat a 3-quart shallow baking dish with cooking spray. Put a large pot of water on to boil.
  • 2 Crumble sausage into a large nonstick skillet (discard casing) and cook over medium heat, stirring, until browned and cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to drain.
  • 3 Wipe out the pan and add oil; heat over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add mushrooms and rosemary; cook, stirring, until the mushrooms begin to give off liquid, about 3 minutes. Stir in tomatoes (and their juices), wine and the cooked sausage. Bring to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 5 minutes. (The sauce will be quite thin.) Season with ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper.
  • 4 Meanwhile, cook pasta until just tender, 8 to 10 minutes or according to package directions. Drain.
  • 5 Add the pasta to the sauce; toss to coat. Spread half in the prepared baking dish. Dot with spoonfuls of ricotta and top with the remaining pasta. Cover with foil. Bake for 20 minutes.
  • 6 Combine breadcrumbs and Parmesan in a small bowl. Season with the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper. Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture over the pasta and continue to bake, uncovered, until the top is golden, about 10 minutes more.
  • Tip: To make fresh breadcrumbs, trim crusts from whole-wheat bread. Tear bread into pieces and process in a food processor until coarse crumbs form. One slice of bread makes about ½ cup fresh crumbs.
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