Baked Rigatoni with Mini Meatballs

Tomato Sauce

1/3 cup Olive Oil

9 Garlic Cloves

3 Tomato Cans (Whole Tomatoes Pureed with a hand blender) 

15 Basil Leaves

2 Tbsp. Salt

2 Tsp. Pepper

1 Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino Romano End (Optional)

1 Pound of Pasta of Choice

Boil a pot of water for macaroni and add some salt.

Put the olive oil in a sauce pot with the garlic and slowly sauté on a low heat until cooked through.  Remove the garlic from the pan and smash with a fork.  Add the chopped basil to the oil as well and sautee on a low flame for about 2 minutes, Raise the heat to medium and add the tomatoes immediately.  Add salt, pepper and the Parmigiano Reggiano/Pecorino end to the sauce.  Let the sauce cook on a low flame for 30 minutes.

***Please Note the Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino Romano cheese is a hard cheese that is used grated on pasta.  It has a hard end that cannot be used for grating.  Instead of throwing it out you can freeze the ends and add them to your sauce or soups to make them have the flavor of the cheese.  It is an excellent trick, nothing is wasted, and it makes your food taste yummy!!

For the Rigatoni

3 Cups of Grated Pecorino Romano

2 ⅔ Cups of Ricotta

16 oz. of Mozzarella – Cubed

2 Cups of Mini Meatballs (see the recipe on our highlights.  This is optional)

 

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Make your tomato sauce. Boil your pasta.  Cook until al dente. Drain the pasta and put back in the pot.  Add the tomato sauce.  Reserve 3 tablespoons of grated Pecorino and 4 oz (¼ cup) of the mozzarella.  Add the rest of the Pecorino, the mozzarella and the ricotta. Mix well. Lightly coat an oven safe dish with olive oil.  Add the pasta to the dish.  Drizzle the top with additional sauce.  Top with the remaining mozzarella and grated Pecorino.  Cover with aluminum foil.  Put in the oven for about 35 minutes and then uncover and cook until the top gets crispy edges.  

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