Abundant with rich meat, warming marinara sauce, and savory melted cheese, pasta al forno is often served on Christmas to satisfy many appetites. Finished with crispy toasted breadcrumbs, the classic Sicilian dish is a favorite across all generations of holiday revelers.
RIGATONI AL FORNO
▢ 1 box Rigatoni
▢ 2 tbsp Heritage Blend EVOO
▢ 6 oz Italian pork sausage
▢ 1 small onion, minced
▢ 2 carrots, minced
▢ 2 celery ribs, minced
▢ 4 cloves garlic, minced
▢ 15 oz Passata Sauce
▢ 1 tbsp Erbe di Sicilia
▢ 1/2 tsp Sicilian Chili Pepper Flakes (or more if you want more heat)
▢ 1 1/2 cups freshly shredded mozzarella cheese
▢ 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
▢ 1/2 cup bread crumbs
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease a glass baking dish with olive oil.
- Bring a large pan over medium-high heat with 2 tbsp olive oil. Add the pork sausage and sauté until browned. You’ll want to make sure to break it up as it cooks into small pieces. The best way to do this is by using a wooden spoon to break up the meat as it cooks. Once it has browned, add the onion, carrots, celery, garlic, Chili Pepper Flakes and Erbe di Sicilia. This is your soffritto. Sauté until softened, roughly 5-10 minutes. Add the Passata and stir it in. Taste and adjust salt and pepper as needed. If it looks a little dry, you can always add more sauce or a splash of water. Reduce the heat to low.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and cook the rigatoni until al dente: roughly 9-12 minutes. Drain and add to the sauce, stirring it all together. Pour the pasta and sauce mixture into your greased dish and cover with shredded mozzarella and Parmigiano-Reggiano. Cover with tin foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and sprinkle with breadcrumbs and bake for another 10-15 minutes until the cheese and breadcrumbs have browned.