Cheesy Baked Rigatoni

IMG_2490I have been posting a lot of pasta dishes lately and its for one reason… pasta is delicious and easy. Maybe its because I have some Italian blood in me as well but I just can’t resist a plate of pasta with a big glass of red wine! Since I always love cooking for crowds and since I’m pretty bored with lasagna I decided it was time to play with a new recipe that is good for a group. I also made this recipe for the first time because I have a friend that loves (and I mean LOVES) sour cream and I knew this would be right up her alley.

I know it sounds a little odd to add sour cream to a pasta recipe but it makes the sauce extra creamy and amazing! The recipe also calls for 3 different kinds of cheese which makes it gooey and melty and everything you’d ever want in a pasta bake. There is no need to spend lots of time on a yummy meal and that is what I love about this recipe! Everything can be prepared in about 15 minutes and then all you have to do is throw it in the oven for 30 minutes to let all the cheese melt and presto… Dinner is ready!

Cheesy Baked Rigatoni (Serves 6-8)

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound dry rigatoni pasta
  • 1 sweet onion, diced
  • 1 pound ground Italian sausage (mild or spicy depending on your taste!)
  • 2 26oz jars sweet basil spaghetti sauce
  • 6-8 slices provolone cheese
  • 16 oz ball fresh mozzarella, sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups sour cream
  • 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9×13 baking dish and set aside. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and add the pasta. Cook for 8 minutes until al dente- do not cook for as long as you normally would, you want the pasta to have a little crunch so it does not get soggy when you bake it!
  2. In a large skillet cook the sausage and onion until brown. Once the sausage is totally cooked, add both jars of pasta sauce and allow to simmer for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes remove the mixture from the heat and carefully stir in the sour cream.
  3. Layer half the drained/cooked pasta into the bottom of the pan and top with half the sauce mixture. Layer 6-8 slices of provolone cheese on top. Layer remaining pasta, and remaining sauce and spread evenly. Lay slices of fresh mozzarella on top and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes at 350 or until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Enjoy!

Wedge Fries with Sour Cream & Sweet Chili Sauce

IMG_2102Back in my college days (which seems like yesterday but was actually almost 6 years ago now!) I was lucky enough to spend a semester abroad in New Zealand. I was hoping to spend my semester over there sight seeing and experiencing my first “endless winter.” I went down in July during our summer, which is actually New Zealand’s Winter and had intended to train and ski race while I was there (here’s a picture of me and Jake in Queenstown while I was abroad… we were just babies!)DSC_0342 I wanted to be ready when I returned to the States in November for my up coming season on the Bates Ski Team. Sadly, I blew out my knee just months before leaving for New Zealand and my plans of training while abroad when down the drain. My plans for eating my way through the country were shaping up very nicely however!

I tried all the traditional cuisine, beer, wine etc. I ate spicy sausages on white bread outside an All Blacks rugby game (not my favorite) but very traditional! One of my absolute favorite snacks were potato wedges served with sour cream and sweet chili sauce. The combination is a classic New Zealand staple and they serve it a many local bars and pubs. I know it sounds like a bizarre combination but I promise you, once you try it you’ll be totally addicted!

Ingredients:

  • 4 large potatoes, washed and sliced in to wedges
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup sour cream and 1/2 cup sweet chili sauce for dipping.

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and spread the sliced potatoes evenly on the baking sheet.
  2. Drizzle the olive oil, salt and paprika over the potatoes and toss to coat evenly. Place the potatoes in the oven for 25-30 minutes tossing frequently so the potatoes don’t stick to the baking sheet.
  3. Cook until the potatoes are brown and crisp. Remove from the oven and serve with a bowl of sour cream and a bowl of sweet chili sauce.