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Rigatoni & Sausage Pasta bake (10/9/2009)

Rigatoni & Sausage Pasta bake

Olive oil
1 lb. Mild, Sweet or hot Italian sausage, removed from casing, crumbled
2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt & Pepepr
¼ cup White Zinfandel
1 regular size jar Ragu, any variety
1 14.5 oz. can diced Italian style tomatoes, drained
¼ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
1 tablespoon dried basil
5 sprigs fresh Oregano, chopped
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
Pinch of nutmeg
1/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 lb. Dried rigatoni or similar pasta
½ lb. Fresh Mozzarella cheese, cut 6 slices, then cut the rest into small cubes

Heat oven to 425-degrees F. Spray a 9 x 13-inch cooking dish with cooking spray.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoon Olive oil over medium heat. Add the crumbled sausage and garlic, season with salt and pepper and sauté until the sausage starts to brown. Drain off most of the fat. Add the wine and boil until almost evaporated. Add the jar of Ragu, red pepper flakes (if using) and diced tomatoes, and basil, then cook, uncovered over low heat about 10 minutes. Add oregano.

In a large bowl, mix the ricotta, ½ cup grated parmesan cheese, the nutmeg and the parsley. Season with salt and pepper.

Cook rigatoni until al dente. Drain well and toss gently with the ricotta mixture until well coated. Add the mozzarella cubes and toss gently. Pour into the baking dish. Pour sausage and sauce mixture over all and spread evenly. Finish by topping with sliced mozzarella cheese. Bake uncovered until lightly browned and bubbling, about 20 minutes. Serve immediately.

This week's recommended wine from Van's Liquor Store in East Dubuque-Gabbiano Chianti, 750 ml bottle, $3.99, normally $10.99, through 10-12-09.

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