Baked Rigatoni With Spinach And Ricotta



  1. For the sauce, in a large saucepan over medium heat, warm the oil.
  2. Add the onions and garlic and cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes or until the onions are softened.
  3. Add the tomatoes with their juice, breaking tomatoes up with the back of a spoon.
  4. Stir in the tomato paste, basil, salt and pepper.
  5. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 20 minutes.
  6. Stir in the parsley.
  7. If the sauce tastes too acidic, add 1/2 tsp sugar.
  8. Season with additional salt and pepper if necessary.
  9. If a smooth sauce is preferred, process it in batches in a food processor.
  10. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  11. In a large pot of salted water, cook the rigatoni halfway, about 6 minutes.
  12. Drain.
  13. Put the pasta back into the pot and toss with a ladle or two of sauce.
  14. Set aside.
  15. Meanwhile, if using frozen, thaw and then remove as much water as possible from the spinach by squeezing it with hands.
  16. In a food processor, blend the ricotta, Parmesan and salt.
  17. Stir in the spinach and half of the Fontina.
  18. Stir the ricotta mixture into the pasta.
  19. Spread an even layer of tomato sauce across the bottom of a 13- by 9-inch baking dish.
  20. Spread the pasta mixture evenly in the dish.
  21. Spoon a bit more sauce over the top, then sprinkle with the remaining Fontina as well as the mozzarella.
  22. Bake until bubbling and the cheese has browned, 15 to 20 minutes.
  23. Allow the casserole to rest for 10 minutes before serving.