Baked Rigatoni With Chicken Sausage

Baked Rigatoni With Chicken Sausage

Um…so what happened to October? Is my favorite month of the year nearly over?? NOOOO. I’m pretty sure I just madepumpkin pancakes last week, not two and a half weeks ago, and why have I not been consuming all things pumpkin every day since? I’ll have to get on that.

Though I am a sucker for soups and stews when it cools down outside, I gotta say, I love baked pasta. I especially love this baked pasta. I first had this dish when I visited home last year during the Chinese new year, and have been aching to make it ever since. I bought gorgeous pesto chicken sausage from Findlay Market specifically for occasion. It did not disappoint.

An added bonus about this recipe is that it yields two separate casseroles, and one can be put in the freezer to bake later on…MAJOR perk for a doctoral student. The dish in the photos are of the second batch that was frozen. I didn’t read the directions very well and went ahead and baked it, then froze it, which you’re not supposed to do. It was just a little more crunchy on top, so if you make this, it’ll look a little different. It was of course still delicious.

Ugh, this is putting my current dinner to shame. Enjoy!


Coarse salt and ground pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium red onion

4 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup vodka (optional)

1 28-ounce can crushed or diced tomatoes

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 cup heavy cream or half and half

1 pound rigatoni

10 ounces frozen spinach (excess liquid removed)

12 ounces smoked chicken sausage, halved lengthwise and sliced 1/4 inch thick

6 ounces mozzarella cheese, 4 ounces cut into 1/2 inch cubes and 2 ounces coarsely grated

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion; cook until translucent, about 3 minutes. Stir in garlic. Remove from heat; add vodka, if desired, and return to heat cooking until almost evaporated, about 1 minutes

Stir in tomatoes and oregano, and cook until tomatoes are falling apart, about 10 minutes. While that’s simmering away, squeeze excess liquid from spinach and add to the pot. Cook for another 5 minutes. Add cream, and cook until warmed through, about 5 minutes. Season sauce with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400F. Cook pasta in the boiling water until al dente, according to package instructions. Drain, and return contents to pot.

Add tomato sauce, sausage, and cubed mozzarella to the pot, tossing to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Divide evenly between two shallow 1 1/2 quart baking dishes.

Top with grated mozzarella and Parmesan. Bake until browned and edges are crisp, 20-30 minutes.

Freezer friendly: like I said above, one of the dishes can be frozen for up to 3 months! If you plan on freezing, stop once you put the pasta/tomato mixture in the baking dish. This means do not add the grated cheese yet. Allow the dish to cool, then wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and place in the freezer. Once ready to eat, remove from the freezer, add the grated cheese, cover with aluminum foil, and bake at 400F for 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours. Remove foil, and bake for an additional 20-30 minutes, or until browned. Do not thaw before baking.


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Eva Rosenberg

Eva Rosenberg

Welcome to Eva's Kitchen where I share my adventures in cooking. My creations may not always turn out Pinterest perfect, but I usually end up with a funny picture or an interesting meal. Thanks for stopping by!


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