Hearty and delicious, this baked pasta is easy to put together and is ready in less than an hour.
1lbloose mild and/or hot Italian sausage(or fresh sausage, removed from casing)
28ozcan whole tomatoes (San Marzano recommended), hand crushed
6leavesfresh basilchopped (or 1 tsp. dried basil)
1/4tspcrushed red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper
2 1/2 - 3cupsdried rigatoni pasta
Salt and pepper
1cupmozzarella cheeseshredded, for topping
Preheat oven to 425 F.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. When boiling, add rigatoni and cook until al dente. Drain and set aside.
On the stove-top, heat a skillet over medium heat. Add loose sausage and cook, stirring regularly, until cooked through and browned in spots. Remove to a plate and set aside.
To the same skillet, over medium heat, add the onion and cook, stirring until softened. Add garlic and cook and additional 30-45 seconds. Add the hand-crushed tomatoes, chopped basil leaves and a healthy sprinkling of salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer. Add sausage back to the skillet and cook a few minutes, to blend the flavours and warm the sausage again. Turn off heat and let stand until pasta is ready.
When pasta is cooked, add to the skillet with the tomato sauce and sausage. Stir to combine. Spoon dollops of the ricotta mixture randomly on top. Sprinkle with the shredded mozzarella cheese.
Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until golden and bubbly.
Be sure to read the “Ingredient and Cook's Notes" (above the recipe card!), where I share more detailedtips, variations and substitution suggestions for this recipe!