This hearty pasta dish comes from John Barricelli, the manager of our prep kitchen at the television studio. It can be made the day before and reheated.

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Ingredients

Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat. Add garlic and onion, and cook until onion is translucent, about 4 minutes. Add tomato paste, and cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and sugar. Season with 1 tablespoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Cook until slightly reduced, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes.

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  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil; add salt. Add rigatoni, and cook, stirring occasionally, 9 minutes. Drain in a colander, and rinse under cool water until cool. Set aside.

  • In a medium nonstick skillet, heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add sausage, and cook, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon to break up any large pieces, until browned and cooked through, about 8 minutes. Drain, and set aside.

  • In a medium bowl, combine ricotta with half of the mozzarella. Stir to combine. Season with a pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper.

  • To assemble, spread 1 cup of the sauce in the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Add half of the rigatoni in an even layer. Spread with 1/2 cup sauce, ricotta mixture, sausage, and 1 cup more sauce. Top with remaining rigatoni, and 1 1/2 cups sauce. Any remaining sauce may be reheated and served on the side or reserved for another use. Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella over the top to cover. Place baking dish on a baking sheet, and transfer to oven. Bake until bubbly, 35 to 40 minutes. Serve hot.

Reviews (6)

147 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 24
  • 4 star values: 19
  • 3 star values: 60
  • 2 star values: 29
  • 1 star values: 15
Rating: 5 stars
05/27/2020
Delicioso! I do not eat meat, so, I substituted the meat for a plant-based protein (Beyond Meat® Beefy Beyond Beef® Crumbles. Also, I added Shaved Parmesan Cheese to the cheese mix (a preferred cheese of mine for all pasta dishes). I did not add any salt to this recipe since it contains a good amount of sodium on its own. Last but not least, I had to adjust the oven temperature to 400 degrees, and increase the cooking time to 45 minutes, but every oven is different and so are cooks.
Rating: 5 stars
09/16/2018
I used the recipe, and it turned out delicious, thank you. I also made it using ground chicken to replace the ground beef I added to your recipe, and I added turkey sausage. This change was for my company that do not eat pork or beef.
Rating: 4 stars
10/05/2013
This recipe was easy to make. I added a bunch of Italian seasonings (basil, oregano, parsley, thyme, rosemary) along with some brown sugar. It made waaaaay more than one 9x13 pan and created quite the mess while I was trying to figure out what size pan to add to it. I ended up with a 8 inch square pan in addition to the listed pan. It smells fabulous!
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Rating: Unrated
05/17/2013
Tomato paste, canned tomatoes, ricotta, mozzarella and sausage are all LOADED with sodium. To add another tablespoon of salt to this, well, is just asking for trouble. If you have high blood pressure, AVOID this recipe. If you don't want to GET high blood pressure, leave out the tablespoon of salt.
Rating: Unrated
12/26/2008
I've been making this dish for years and it's a family favorite! I like to add one pound of spinach, which I mix into the ricotta mixture. Sometimes, instead of using sweet Italian sausage, I use spinach chicken sausage from Trader Joe's. It's a little time-consuming to make this, but it's worth it!
Rating: Unrated
12/26/2008
I've been making this dish for years and it's a family favorite! I like to add one pound of spinach, which I mix into the ricotta mixture. Sometimes, instead of using sweet Italian sausage, I use spinach chicken sausage from Trader Joe's. It's a little time-consuming to make this, but it's worth it!
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Rating: Unrated
12/26/2008
I've been making this dish for years and it's a family favorite! I like to add one pound of spinach, which I mix into the ricotta mixture. Sometimes, instead of using sweet Italian sausage, I use spinach chicken sausage from Trader Joe's. It's a little time-consuming to make this, but it's worth it!