This is the first blog post using the word “Salsiccia” but it most certainly will not be the last. It is Italian sausage and it is pronounced Sa-Zeet-Za.
This is comfort food! I love lasagna but it is definitely a time consuming dish to make and, unfortunately, I don’t always have the time. This, on the other hand, is relatively easy to throw together and you get a lot of the same flavors.
I made this earlier in the week and I happened to have some caramelized onions in the fridge (left over from steak sandwiches… mmm…). Caramelized onions are not listed in the recipe but I must say it was fantastic. So, if you have anything laying around that you think will compliment these flavors, throw it in and let me know how it turns out.
By the way, my 6 year olds loved it even though they thought it looked “gross” when I put it on the table. And they didn’t even realize they were eating spinach and onions. Ha!
Goes great with a salad, crusty bread and some Pinot Noir. Enjoy!
Bonus- You can make this early in the day (or even the night before), keep it in the fridge and then throw it in the oven about 45 minutes before you want to eat dinner. It also freezes beautifully. This recipe serves about 8-10 people. You can divide the pasta into two separate dishes and freeze one of them. Isn’t it nice to know you have a delicious homemade meal ready to go in the freezer!
Baked Rigatoni with Salsiccia
1 lb box of Rigatoni
1 lb Salsiccia (about 3 links out of the casing)
½ tsp Fennel Seed (optional)
2-3 oz fresh Spinach (about 3 handfuls)
5-6 c homemade Pasta Sauce or about 2 jars, divided
½ c reserved Pasta Water
1 ¾ c shredded Mozzarella Cheese, divided
Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese (optional)
Preheat oven to 350
Boil the pasta in a pot of heavily salted water for 2-3 minutes less than the “Al Dente” instructions on the box. 10 minutes for me.
Meanwhile, heat a Dutch oven or large pot over medium-high heat. Add the salsiccia and fennel seeds; mix together and brown. When the pasta is ready, add it to the sausage using a spider. Add 3 handfuls of spinach and stir everything together. Add about 4 cups or 1 2/3 jars of pasta sauce, ½ cup of pasta water and ¼ cup mozzarella cheese to the pasta.
Mix everything together. If using a Dutch oven, drizzle the remaining sauce over the top of the pasta and sprinkle with the remaining mozzarella cheese. If not using a Dutch oven, pour pasta into a 9×13 pan or casserole dish sprayed with non-stick cooking spray and top with remaining sauce and cheese.
Bake uncovered in the oven for 30 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and slightly browned. Let rest at least 5-10 minutes before serving. Serve with freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.