Baked Rigatoni With Spinach And Ricotta
- 4 tsp olive oil
- 2 yellow onions, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cans whole San Marzano tomatoes
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 3 tbsp dried basil
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- 1/2 tsp sugar (optional)
- 1 lb rigatoni
- 1 package fresh or frozen spinach, thawed
- 2 cups ricotta cheese
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup grated Fontina cheese, divided
- 1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese
- For the sauce, in a large saucepan over medium heat, warm the oil.
- Add the onions and garlic and cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes or until the onions are softened.
- Add the tomatoes with their juice, breaking tomatoes up with the back of a spoon.
- Stir in the tomato paste, basil, salt and pepper.
- Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 20 minutes.
- Stir in the parsley.
- If the sauce tastes too acidic, add 1/2 tsp sugar.
- Season with additional salt and pepper if necessary.
- If a smooth sauce is preferred, process it in batches in a food processor.
- Preheat the oven to 350 F.
- In a large pot of salted water, cook the rigatoni halfway, about 6 minutes.
- Put the pasta back into the pot and toss with a ladle or two of sauce.
- Set aside.
- Meanwhile, if using frozen, thaw and then remove as much water as possible from the spinach by squeezing it with hands.
- In a food processor, blend the ricotta, Parmesan and salt.
- Stir in the spinach and half of the Fontina.
- Stir the ricotta mixture into the pasta.
- Spread an even layer of tomato sauce across the bottom of a 13- by 9-inch baking dish.
- Spread the pasta mixture evenly in the dish.
- Spoon a bit more sauce over the top, then sprinkle with the remaining Fontina as well as the mozzarella.
- Bake until bubbling and the cheese has browned, 15 to 20 minutes.
- Allow the casserole to rest for 10 minutes before serving.