Food Storage Meal - Skillet Baked Rigatoni

Saturday, October 19, 2013

This is a recipe I got from the amazingly gifted ladies at Our Best Bites, and modified just slightly to fit our family's needs (and what we had in the pantry/food storage).  It turned out absolutely fabulously!!!  The kids had seconds, the husband had thirds, and I was told to definitely not lose this recipe!  :)

We've done baked ziti before, and it was okay, but this recipe takes it to a whole new level!

Skillet Baked Rigatoni
1 pound Italian sausage
1 (28oz) can whole peeled tomatoes (or 2 14.5 oz cans)
1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. minced garlic (about 6 cloves)
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste
3 cups water
12 oz rigatoni pasta
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese (yes, I used the stuff in the green was all I had)
1 Tbsp. dried basil (or 1/4 cup fresh chopped basil leaves, if you've got them)
1 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

[Except for needing a food processor, you can pretty much make this in one pot.  But make sure your skillet or pot is oven-safe to 475F.]

Preheat oven to 475F.  Pour tomatoes and juice into food processor and pulse until no large pieces remain. 

Heat a 12-inch or larger skillet (you could use a brazier, if you're awesomely lucky to have one, or a chef's casserole - I love my 5qt chef's casserole from Costco, it worked perfectly for this dish) over medium-high heat and add 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil.  Add sausage and cook, crumbling with a spatula, until browned and fully cooked through, about 3-5 minutes.  Add garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for additional 1-2 minutes until fragrant.  Stir in the tomatoes and 1/2 tsp. salt.  Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes no longer taste raw, about 10 minutes.

Stir in the water, then add pasta.  Increase heat to medium-high, cover and cook, stirring often and adjusting heat to maintain a vigorous simmer, until pasta is tender, 15-18 minutes.

Stir in the cream, Parmesan cheese, and basil, and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Sprinkle mozzarella cheese over the top, and transfer the skillet to the oven.  Bake until cheese has melted and browned, about 10-15 minutes.

Trust me, it tastes MUCH better than it looks in this picture!  Ha ha ha!  I've got to take a photography class one of these days...  ;)

Now, I think you *COULD* make this into a freezer meal if ya' wanted to.  Follow recipe as above, except undercook the pasta by about half of the time.  Then, before the last step of adding the mozzarella cheese, pour into a foil tray or ziptop bag, etc.  and label and freeze.  Then, to fix for a meal, you could either reheat on the stove first, or just place it in a baking dish and toss it straight in the oven (if you do that option, you'll want to double the time, and only put the cheese on for the last 10-15 minutes).