The recipe I made is Cheesy Rigatoni Bake. I chose it because my husband and I love cheesy tomato noodle type casseroles, and I hadn't made one in months and months. This one looked interesting because it has two types of sauces, neither of which are stirred into the rigatoni, and I liked that it didn't have nearly as much cheese as most similar recipes. My husband loves cheese, but can't have a ton of it.
The casserole was really good. As expected, the sauces did seep down into the rigatoni some (in a very delicious way!), but the two types didn't completely blend together. Between the white sauce and the cheese, the top got perfectly bubbly and golden and irresistible. The casserole cut into pieces better than most because of the eggs that help bind the pasta together. I added pepperoni to the top of half of the casserole since there's no meat in the recipe and the layering kind of reminded me of pizza anyway. We thought the pepperoni was really nice and I'll probably top the entire thing with pepperoni next time. This is a definite repeat recipe!
Cheesy Rigatoni Bake
1 lb rigatoni pasta
1 tsp salt, divided
16 oz can Four Cheese Hunt's spaghetti sauce (or another flavor)
4 Tbsp butter
4 Tbsp flour
2 1/4 C milk
2 C grated mozzarella
sliced pepperoni (optional)
1/3 C grated fresh parmesan
Preheat oven to 375 and grease a 9 by 13 baking dish.
Cook the rigatoni in lightly salted water until al dente. You want it to be a little less cooked than you'd prefer because it will cook longer in the oven and the noodles will get softer. Drain noodles and set aside to cool for a few minutes so the eggs won't cook on contact.
Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium-high heat and whisk in flour. Whisk constantly for about a minute, then whisk in about 1/4 C milk until completely smooth. Add milk in 1/4 C additions, being sure to whisk between additions until the sauce is completely smooth. Once all the milk has been added, bring sauce to a simmer while whisking constantly, and cook for about a minute. Stir in 1/2 tsp salt. Remove from heat and set aside.
Whisk eggs in a small bowl, then add to rigatoni with 1/2 tsp salt. Stir until pasta is coated, then pour into prepared baking dish. Spread spaghetti sauce evenly over top. Sprinkle with mozzarella. Spread white sauce over the cheese, then top with the pepperoni, if you're using it. Sprinkle with the parmesan.
Bake casserole until bubbly all over and the top is golden, about 40 minutes. Let sit for 15 minutes before serving so it can set up some.
Yield: 8 servings