Baked Rigatoni with Meat Sauce and Fresh Mozzarella Bolognese
I decided a few weeks ago not to buy any more food until both of my freezers are empty. I noticed I had some ground beef and ground pork. I had made traditional Bolognese sauce for lasagna several times before so I thought, perfect! I did not however feel like making lasagna. I figured; “I’ll just make a Bolognese and have it on some spaghetti”. I didn’t have any wine so the sauce would not quite be a Bolognese but very close in flavor and technique. Well, as I was about to drop my pasta into the boiling water; I realized I didn’t have any spaghetti. Insert expletive rant here! Well, off to The Party Source for some pasta; thankfully they are only two blocks away. As I’m browsing the cheese case, fresh mozzarella catches my eye. Thinking to myself “you know what, I should buy this cheese and turn my Bolognese into a form of Baked Ziti!). I find it truly amazing how my recipes and ideas evolve due to adversity in the kitchen. My opinion on cooking has always been to” just go with it and don’t be to dedicated to recipes”. So you see, everything happens for a reason! I saw my friend and General Manager of The Party Source (Jon Stiles) while I was there and we talked about the subject of recipes and how we use them. We both agree, recipes are a road map, an idea; play with them and make them your own. By the way, Jon gave me a loaf of Cuban bread that was awesome with the Baked Ziti.
The ingredients in this recipe is what I had in my fridge and pantry, I’m writing this recipe to show how easy cooking with what you have can be. This is not meant to be a traditional Bolognese although it is very close!
1 pound ground pork
1 pound ground beef
3 garden tomatoes
1 16 oz can tomato sauce.
1 small onion chopped fine
1/4 yellow bell pepper chopped fine
1 carrot grated fine
1 tbsp dried basil.
4 cloves garlic
salt & pepper to taste
1 cup whole milk
Shredded Italian Three Cheese Blend
Heat a Dutch Oven to medium heat and add olive oil to coat, sweat the vegetables and garlic stirring frequently for 5 minutes, Watch your heat here, not too hot. Add ground meats broken up by hand into small pieces. Mix and brown meat over medium heat until all the liquid is gone leaving just oil on the bottom. Pour in the milk and cook until the milk has cooked off stirring frequently. Add chopped garden tomatoes and tomato sauce. Simmer over low heat for at least an hour covered. After an hour, cook uncovered until the sauce thickens. Boil your water during the last half hour and preheat the oven to 425.
When the pasta is cooked to al dente, remove to a deep casserole dish. Mix in the hot meat sauce and shredded cheese. Top with fresh mozzarella and more shredded cheese. Put into oven and bake uncovered for 20 minutes reducing heat to 400 degrees.
Plate and serve with crusty bread.
Serves at least five people.