November 16, 2015

Ragù Sausage Stuffed Jumbo Rigatoni Pasta Bake


Today I wanted to share a recipe that is close to my heart, Sausage Stuffed Jumbo Rigatoni Pasta. I had trouble finding large enough rigatoni, which is a tube shaped pasta, so the jumbo rigatoni are actually lasagna noodles. They are filled with flavorful Italian sausage and rolled up then topped with Ragu Sweet Italian Sausage and Cheese Sauce and melted mozzarella. This dish is inspired by my Italian heritage, from my father and grandfather. Our family loves to cook and eat together, we spend a lot of time talking, laughing, and making memories in the kitchen. Unfortunately, I didn't get the chance to grow up with my Grandpa Al, who I met later in life. But in the time I did spend with him, I learned that he loved sharing stories, eating good food, and that his Italian background and family memories were very near and dear to him. 
Grandpa Al and my Dad circa the 1950s.
My father, for as long as I can remember, has been the cook in our family. He loves Italian food {no surprise there} and a hearty, flavorful casserole is the way to his heart! So after eating a dish similar to this at an Italian restaurant, I decided to recreate it at home. To me, and I am sure my Dad and grandfather would agree, no food is better than a good pasta. Except a good pasta with an equally good sauce. So when Ragu contacted me to work with them on their Simmered in Tradition campaign, I knew that combining Ragu's pasta sauce with my stuffed rigatoni pasta was going to be a match made in food heaven!

Did you know? 

Ragu pasta sauce stems from a family recipe made with farm grown ingredients and contains no artificial flavors, no artificial colors, and no high fructose corn syrup.

My Dad and me circa forever ago!

The woman who started it all.

Assunta Cantisano made the voyage from Italy to America with a little something extra up her sleeve, her family’s recipe for tomato sauce– a secret and sublime combination of vine-ripened tomatoes, fresh basil, fennel, garlic and ground pepper, meticulously writing down every detail and hiding it for safe passage. It survived the long journey and even during the Great Depression Assunta was able to keep her family's heritage, tradition, and memories alive. She made and sold the sauce herself and it was loved by everyone who tried it. Today Ragú pasta sauce has been on shelves over 80 years and is still America’s number one! 
Ragu. Crafted with Passion. Simmered in Tradition.

To learn more about Assunta, her sauce, and her story visit the Ragu website.

The last photo of my Dad, me, and Grandpa Al. Do you see a resemblance? 
Like Assunta we want to keep our family's heritage and traditions alive with our recipes and memories. 



Ready. Set. Cook Recipe Contest with Food.com


This fun contest challenges home cooks to create new and unique recipes featuring Ragu sauce plus a set list of other ingredients. Enter to win here.

Ingredients: 

Makes 20 Rigatoni
  • 23.9 oz jar of Ragù {I used Sweet Italian Sausage and Cheese}
  • 5 links of Sweet Italian Sausage {about 20 oz}, casings removed 
  • 8 oz lasagna pasta sheets {1/2 a box}
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed or grated
  • 1/2 cup ricotta
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  3. Add lasagna sheets and cook until done about 8 minutes or according to the package directions. 
  4. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.
  5. Drain the pasta and lay each sheet flat on a baking sheet (or you can use a cutting board/s) to cool.
  6. Meanwhile, heat a large non stick skillet over medium.
  7. Remove sausage from casings and crumble in the skillet. 
  8. Cook until browned then remove to a paper towel lined plate. 
  9. Now add diced onion to the hot skillet. You can use the sausage drippings to saute them or drain and add olive oil.
  10. Cook until softened, about 5 minutes then add garlic. 
  11. Cook for about 2 minutes or until browned then remove from heat. 
  12. In a food processor or blender add 3/4 of the sausage (about 3 of the 5 links worth), the ricotta cheese, and the onion and garlic mixture. Season with salt and pepper. Pulse until creamy.
  13. Add 1/2 the jar of Ragù pasta sauce to the bottom of a 9X13 baking dish, spreading to cover.
  14. Cut each lasagna sheet in half lengthwise and add a large spoonful of the sausage mixture on the end of each sheet.
  15. Roll up and place the rigatoni seam side down in rows in the baking dish until you get about 20.
  16. Stir together the remaining sausage crumbles and the remaining Ragù pasta sauce in a bowl then pour on top of the rigatoni, spreading to cover. 
  17. Then add all the shredded mozzarella cheese on top, covering the pasta.
  18. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 15 minutes.
  19. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 5 minutes, until the cheese is melted.
  20. Cut into portions and serve hot with bread for dipping and a side salad. 
I used a package of five Sweet Italian Sausages for this recipe.
Remove sausage from the casings and crumble in a skillet. 
Cook over medium heat until browned. 
Remove to a paper towel lined plate to drain.
Now add diced onion to the hot skillet.
 You can use the sausage drippings to saute them or drain and add olive oil.
Cook until softened, about 5 minutes then add garlic. 
Cook for about 2 minutes or until browned then remove from heat. 
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
Add lasagna sheets and cook until done about 8 minutes or according to the package directions. 
Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.
Drain the pasta and lay each sheet flat on a baking sheet (or you can use a cutting board/s) to cool.
Then cut each sheet in half lengthwise.
In a food processor or blender add 3/4 of the sausage (about 3 of the 5 links worth), the ricotta cheese, and the onion and garlic mixture. Season with salt and pepper. 
Pulse until creamy.
You want a smooth texture so stir and blend again if needed to remove any chunks.
Add 1/2 the jar of Ragù pasta sauce to the bottom of a 
9X13 baking dish, spreading to cover.
Add a large spoonful of the sausage mixture on the end of each half lasagna sheet.
Roll up and place the rigatoni seam side down in rows
 in the baking dish.
You should be able to fit about 18-20 in your dish.
Stir together the remaining sausage crumbles and the remaining 
Ragù pasta sauce in a bowl. 
Pour on top of the rigatoni, spreading to cover. 
Add all the shredded mozzarella cheese on top, covering the pasta.
Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 15 minutes.
Remove the foil and bake for an additional 5 minutes.
Until the cheese is melted all over.
Cut into portions and serve hot.
Comment below and share your favorite family recipe!

Visit the Ragu website for more information.
Enter your unique Ragu recipe in the Food.com recipe contest.

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