Monday, March 10, 2008

Baked Rigatoni

I tried this out on Saturday to test out some sauce methods. It came out delicious and I'm still enjoying the leftovers!

16 oz box rigatoni
1 cup shredded Mozzarella
Meat Sauce:
1 lb ground meat (I used a combo of half sausage/ half beef)
1 Jar of high quality tomato sauce ( I used leftover fresh sauce I had in the fridge)
Salt & Pepper to taste
Bechamel Sauce:
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
3 - 3 1/2 cups milk
1 cup shredded cheese (I used Gruyere, Parmesan, and Asiago)
Salt & Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375. Cook the rigatoni according to package directions and set aside. In a large pot, brown the meat. When it is browned, add the tomato sauce and simmer on low-med for about 15 minutes and set aside. In a separate sauce pan, melt the butter, then add the flour and whisk for 3 minutes or so (until flour is lightly cooked, you don't want it to get brown or it will change the color of the sauce). Then add the 3 cups of milk and whisk continuously. The sauce will thicken after about 5 minutes (If it's too thick, add more milk). Let the sauce cook on low-med for about 10 - 15 minutes, whisking occasionally. Then add the cheese and whisk until it has melted in.

Assembly: On the bottom of a 9X13 dish, spread a layer of the Meat Sauce, then place a layer of Rigatoni. On top of that, spread Bechamel and then more meat sauce. Then add another layer of Rigatoni, Then Bechamel, and finally top with the shredded mozzarella. Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes or until mozzarella is lightly browned. Makes about 6 servings.