Thursday, January 10, 2013

Celebration Meal: Baked Whole Wheat Rigatoni

Baked Whole Wheat Rigatoni

Happy (few weeks after his) Birthday to the male half of this couple!

One of his favorite foods when he lived on the mainland was Baked Ziti...there was a woman who ran a restaurant near his work and once a week he would go in for her Baked Ziti.  He claims it was inexpensive and the best Baked Ziti ever...he had it so often when she saw him walking towards the restaurant she would start making his plate!

I am still in Cruise, but the male half doesn't care for the Shirataki pasta noodles, so I made him a whole wheat rigatoni for his birthday (because I just made him whole wheat penne and he likes variety).  We used the Pioneer Woman's recipe for Baked Ziti as our base but altered it a bit.  We didn't use as much mozzarella to cut down on the amount of cheese we used -- I still have mixed feelings on whether I should have used the full amount.  It definitely wasn't as cheesy as we would have liked it, but it wasn't terrible either!  We baked ours for 30 minutes (Pioneer Woman's recipe says 20 minutes or until bubbly) but 30 still wasn't enough.

Serves: 6 to 8
Prep Time: 15-20 minutes
Cook Time: 20-30 minutes or until cheese is bubbling

1 - 40 oz jar of Victoria All Natural Marinara Sauce
16 oz. whole wheat rigatoni, cooked until not quite al dente
1 - 15 oz. tub of low fat ricotta cheese
up to 1 1/2 lb. mozzarella cheese, grated
1/2 c. romano cheese, grated (we used the one that looks like powder -- you can use parmesan, but we prefer the taste of romano and there's less fat)
1 whole egg
salt and pepper

Start cooking your pasta.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  Prepare your baking pan, we used a 9x13 pan lined with foil because I don't like scrubbing pans.   In a large bowl, mix ricotta cheese, 2 cups of the mozzarella, romano cheese, egg, salt and pepper to taste.  Stir together a couple of times (do not mix completely).  When draining your pasta, rinse under cool water to stop the cooking process.  Drain completely.  Pour pasta into your cheese mixture and toss to slightly combine (there should still be large lumps).

Add your marinara sauce to the cheese/pasta mixture.  Toss to combine.  Add half the coated pasta to your pan.  Top with half the remaining mozzarella cheese.  Add the rest of your coated pasta to the pan and cover with the rest of the mozzarella cheese.  Bake for 20-30 minutes or until bubbling.  Remove from oven and let stand 5 minutes before serving.  (if you have fresh parsley, you can sprinkle that on your finished pasta)

Enjoy...we sure did!

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