Rigatoni & Spicy Sausage Casserole
Mushrooms have the perfect meaty texture to complement a modest amount of spicy Italian sausage in this baked rigatoni that has less than one-quarter the fat of the original. Whole-wheat pasta rather than white pasta makes our version a fiber powerhouse with 7 grams per serving. This delicious and cheesy pasta casserole freezes well so you might want to make an extra to have on hand for a ready-to-heat-and-eat meal.
From EatingWell: January/February 1996
Yield: 6 servings
Active Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
- 4 ounces hot Italian sausage, (2 links)
- 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, very finely chopped
- 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
- 1 teaspoon crumbled dried rosemary
- 2 14-ounce cans diced tomatoes, or plum tomatoes (chopped)
- 1/4 cup dry red or white wine
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
- Freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 12 ounces whole-wheat rigatoni, mostaccioli or penne
- 1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
- 3/4 cup fresh breadcrumbs, preferably whole-wheat (see Tip)
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat a 3-quart shallow baking dish with cooking spray. Put a large pot of water on to boil.
- Crumble sausage into a large nonstick skillet (discard casing) and cook over medium heat, stirring, until browned and cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to drain.
- Wipe out the pan and add oil; heat over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add mushrooms and rosemary; cook, stirring, until the mushrooms begin to give off liquid, about 3 minutes. Stir in tomatoes (and their juices), wine and the cooked sausage. Bring to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 5 minutes. (The sauce will be quite thin.) Season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper.
- Meanwhile, cook pasta until just tender, 8 to 10 minutes or according to package directions. Drain.
- Add the pasta to the sauce; toss to coat. Spread half in the prepared baking dish. Dot with spoonfuls of ricotta and top with the remaining pasta. Cover with foil. Bake for 20 minutes.
- Combine breadcrumbs and Parmesan in a small bowl. Season with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture over the pasta and continue to bake, uncovered, until the top is golden, about 10 minutes more.
- Tip: To make fresh breadcrumbs, trim crusts from whole-wheat bread. Tear bread into pieces and process in a food processor until coarse crumbs form. One slice of bread makes about 1/2 cup fresh crumbs.
Nutrition Per serving:
392 calories; 12 g fat (4 g sat, 4 g mono); 24 mg cholesterol; 53 g carbohydrates; 19 g protein; 7 g fiber; 446 mg sodium; 266 mg potassium.
3 Carbohydrate Serving
Exchanges: 3 starch, 1 1/2 vegetable, 1/2 lean meat, 1/2 medium fat meat