Sometimes I just get a hankering for a hearty, classic pasta dish. This recipe was born of one of those moments and I think my kids would agree; it really hit the spot. Did I mention how simple this is to make? That’s the best part, of course. YUM!!
Starting off great!!
Fresh and simple ingredients like basil, mozzarella, ricotta, and parmesan really add depth of flavor.
28 oz. Italian sauce (I prefer Dei Fratelli brand)
10 fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 large fresh mozzarella ball
3 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 cup parmesan cheese
olive oil for drizzling
salt and pepper
1 lb. rigatoni pasta
Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
In the meantime, combine, ricotta cheese, 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, basil, and half of the mozzarella ball, diced.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Add pasta to the boiling water, salt the water, and cook for 5 minutes. You want to be sure that the pasta is not thoroughly cooked as it will continue to cook in the oven. Drain and rinse with cool water in the colander to stop the cooking process. (No one likes soggy pasta!!!)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Drizzle olive oil lightly in the bottom of a large baking dish. Add 1/3 of the Italian sauce.
Add half of the rigatoni to the dish as well as half of the ricotta cheese mixture and 1/3 of the Italian sauce.
Gently mix with a wooden spoon.
Add remaining pasta, ricotta cheese, and sauce across the top.
Slice the remaining half of the mozzarella ball and top the pasta with mozzarella slices.