Baked Rigatoni with Sausage and Mushrooms

Serves 8 to 10

Savory Italian sausage and sautéed mushrooms impart a spicy heat to this cheesy rigatoni. Toss a simple green salad while the pasta bakes, and serve with a nice dry red wine. It's a foolproof meal, perfect for a delightful Sunday dinner with great weeknight or lunchtime leftovers.

Ingredients: 
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons garlic, minced
  • 1 cup yellow onion, diced
  • 1 1/2 pound white mushrooms, quartered
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 pinch crushed red pepper, (optional)
  • 2 pounds Italian sausage, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 pound frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 1 pound ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 pound rigatoni pasta
  • 2 (26-ounce) jars prepared marinara sauce
  • 1/2 pound mozzarella, shredded
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Method: 

Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a sauté pan. Add garlic, onion and mushrooms and sauté until mushrooms have released most of their liquid and onions are translucent. Add red wine and crushed red pepper and continue to cook until red wine has evaporated. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Add remaining tablespoon of olive oil to the same pan and add the sausage. Cook until sausage is browned and cooked through. Remove from the pan and add to mushroom mixture.

In a large bowl, combine spinach, ricotta cheese, egg, Parmigiano-Reggiano, salt and black pepper and mix well. Add mushrooms and sausage to this mixture.

Meanwhile, cook pasta in rapidly boiling water until al dente and drain.

Add cooked pasta and marinara sauce to the ricotta mixture and mix well until fully combined. Transfer to a roasting pan and top with mozzarella cheese. Cover with aluminum foil and bake in a 350°F oven for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake until browned on top and fully heated through.

Nutritional Info: 
Per Serving:680 calories (250 from fat), 28g total fat, 11g saturated fat, 90mg cholesterol, 1810mg sodium, 63g carbohydrate (6g dietary fiber, 10g sugar), 42g protein

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