Thursday, April 21, 2011

White Rigatoni Bake

It's no secret that I absolutely love Italian food! And I love switching out red sauces for white sauces and vice versa. Usually when you think of rigatoni, you think of a red meat sauce, but this recipe gives you something different. Not only does it feature a lovely Bechamel (white) sauce, but it also surprises you with a spicy Chorizo (hot Mexican sausage). The results are so yummy, I doubt that you will have any leftovers!

White Rigatoni Bake

1 stick of butter (8 tbsp)
1/2 cup & 2 tbsp flour
4 cups of room temperature milk
1/8 tsp nutmeg
salt & pepper to taste
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
6 ounces chorizo (hot Mexican sausage)
1 lb dry rigatoni
3 tablespoons butter, diced

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Grease a 9x13 casserole dish.

In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk until smooth, about 2 minutes. Continue to whisk as you gradually add the milk until the sauce is smooth and creamy. Simmer the mixture until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon (about 10 minutes).
Remove from heat and stir in the nutmeg, 1/2 cup of the mozzarella cheese, and the chorizo. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

In a large pot, bring about 6 quarts of salted water to a boil. Add the rigatoni and cook for 5 minutes. (The pasta will finish cooking in the oven). Drain pasta and add to your white sauce. Mix together well until all the pasta is coated with
the sauce.

Pour the pasta into your greased baking dish, shaking to evenly distribute. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese. Dot the top with diced butter and bake in the oven for 25 minutes. Very delicious!

Makes about 6 servings

**Helpful Note**
If you can't find Chorizo in your area, try substituting hot Italian sausage.

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