Fleur de Lolly column: Italian casserole begins with baked rigatoni – Way of life – Aurora Advertiser – Aurora, MO
One of my daughter’s favorite dishes from Tellini Pasta Market is the Italian casserole. Start with a cheesy-baked rigatoni that is heaven on a plate like it is, but top with a zesty marinara sauce. It’s the best of both worlds when you can’t decide whether you’re craving an alfredo or marinara sauce-based dish.
As a surprise to her, I tried to recreate the recipe. I think I got very close!
BAKED RIGATONI ITALIAN CASSEROLE WITH MARINARA SAUCE
First make the marinara sauce:
* 2 tablespoons of olive oil
* 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
* 1 teaspoon of minced garlic
* 1 can of chopped tomatoes
* 2 tablespoons of dried Italian seasoning
* 1 teaspoon of sugar
* 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar
* A couple of grinds of black pepper
In a medium saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and let cook for 4 to 5 minutes until tender. Add garlic and cook for a minute longer.
Add tomatoes, Italian seasoning and sugar and bring to a boil. Cover and cook for 30 to 45 minutes. In the last minutes of cooking, add the red wine vinegar and black pepper. Try and add a little salt if needed.
Now for the casserole:
* 16-ounce box of rigatoni, cooked and drained according to the package instructions
* 2 tablespoons of butter
* 2 tablespoons of olive oil
* 2 tablespoons of flour
* 3 cups of milk
* 3/4 cup of finely chopped parmesan plus extra for the topping
* 1 cup of crushed mozzarella
* 24 ounces ricotta cheese
* 1 teaspoon of white pepper
* 1 teaspoon of salt
* 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9 by 13 inch baking dish with nonstick spray.
In a large saucepan (at least 2 liters), heat the butter and olive oil over medium heat. Add flour and let cook, stirring constantly, until light brown in color. Slowly add milk, stirring constantly, and let the mixture thicken slightly.
Add the cheeses one at a time until they are mixed and melted evenly. Stir in pepper, salt and dried parsley flakes. Remove from heat and stir into drained rigatoni pasta.
Put the casserole mixture in a prepared casserole dish and cover with foil. Let boil for 25 minutes and remove the foil. Sprinkle more parmesan on top and return to the oven for another 10 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes. Top each serving with a generous portion of marinara sauce. Add a fresh green salad and breadsticks for a delicious meal.
SOUTHWEST TATER TO CASSEROLE
This recipe is a simple meal for beginners, and it ticks the bill for a quick weekday dinner.
* 1 pound of ground feed, browned and fat drained
* 1 can of potato soup
* 1 can of white shoepeg corn with chipotle peppers, drained
* 1 small can of diced green chillies, drained
* 1 can of black beans, rinsed and drained
* 1 can of Rotel tomatoes (I used hot)
* 1 teaspoon of granulated garlic
* 1 teaspoon onion powder
* 1 tablespoon of chili powder
* 1 small (28 ounce) packet of Tater Tots
* 1 cup of crushed Monterrey Jack / Colby cheese mix, divided
* Coriander, sour cream, spring onions (optional)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Combine the first nine ingredients in a large bowl. Add half a cup of cheese. Spray a 9 x 13 inch baking dish with nonstick spray.
Carefully pour the casserole mixture into the casserole dish. Rule Tater Tots Up. Put in the oven for 25 minutes.
Take out of the oven, add the remaining cheese and return to the oven for about 5 minutes. Let rest for a few minutes before serving. Top with coriander, sour cream, or chopped green onions – or all three!
Laura Tolbert, also known as Fleur de Lolly, has been sharing recipes, table setting ideas, and advice for other foodies and beginners on her blog fleurdelolly.blogspot.com for more than eight years. She won the Duke Mayonnaise 100th Anniversary National Recipe Competition for her Alabama White BBQ Sauce. You can contact them at facebook.com/fleurde.lolly.5, on Instagram and [email protected]