Creamy Baked Rigatoni with Italian Sausage

Circle B Kitchen

Serves 8-10

You can use spicy or sweet Italian sausage for this. If using spicy, you can reduce the amount of crushed red pepper or eliminate it altogether, depending on how spicy you like your pasta.

4 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

2 large cloves of garlic, chopped

1 lb Italian sausage, casings removed

1 cup mascarpone cheese

(2) large cans Italian tomatoes

2 tsp salt

1 tsp dried marjoram

1 tsp crushed red pepper

1 lb rigatoni pasta, cooked about 1 minute less than the package instructions

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

10 oz grated fontina or mozzarella cheese (divided)

Combine the grated parmesan and grated fontina cheese. Separate about 1/3 cup to use for the top and set aside.

Use a hand blender, food processor or standing blender to break down the tomatoes. You can leave little bits if you would like the sauce more chunky, or completely puree them if you like. I do not recommend using canned tomato puree for this.

Preheat the oven 375 degrees.

In a large saute pan, heat the olive oil and add the onion and garlic. Saute until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the Italian sausage, marjoram and crushed red pepper (if using), and saute until pretty well cooked through. Add the tomatoes and salt and simmer until the sauce thickens slightly, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the mascarpone cheese.

Add the cooked rigatoni to the sauce, mix well, and then stir in the parmesan and grated fontina or mozzarella cheese. Place in a large 4 qt. baking pan or casserole dish (or two medium-sized ones) and top with the remaining cheeses.

Bake for 30 minutes or until bubbly and the top is golden brown.

Note: I like to put this in 2 medium casserole dishes and stick one in the freezer. In case of emergency, pull it out of the freezer, thaw in the microwave while your oven is preheating and bake according to the directions.