Quick & Easy!

Well, folks now and then ask me for advice on preparing a nice Italian dish without much hassle.  Truth is, a meal isn’t necessarily any better because a cook spent a lot of time on it.  Quite the contrary – my favorite rustic dishes aren’t big productions at all.   But, they satisfy!

So my favorite quick and easy Italian dish is my own special spin on Baked Rigatoni.  Prep time is short and and cooking time is 50-55 minutes.  This recipe will have you enjoying a fine meal in no time!

Baked Rigatoni a la Vincenzo

Ingredients

  • 1 lb Rigatoni (I like Barilla, but any brand will do)
  • 2 28 oz cans of Crushed Tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup of Olive Oil
  • 1/2 cup of Parmesan, or about the same amount of Shredded Mozzarella cheese
  • Kosher Salt, Pepper, and some crushed Red Peppers.

1. Heat up your oven to 400 degrees.

2. While the oven is warming up, get a nice medium sized baking dish.  Place the 1 lb of uncooked rigatoni into the baking dish, and pour about 1/2 cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil on the pasta.  Let it sit for about 15 minutes.

3. After the Rigatoni has absorbed some of the olive oil, open the two 28 oz cans of crushed tomatoes and pour all over the pasta, covering the rigatoni completely.

4. Sprinkle some pepper and kosher salt on top of the pasta and tomatoes, to taste.

5. Cover the baking dish with some aluminum foil (ok) or parchment paper (much better).  Place into the oven for about 55 minutes.

6. Check on it after 10 minutes and poke around with an oversized fork or spoon.  Repeat every 5-10 minutes or so until you get to the 50 minute mark.

7. At the 50 minute mark, take the tray out of the oven and sprinkle about 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese (or the shredded mozzarella)  on top of the pasta.  Mix it up just a bit with the oversized fork or spoon, place the foil or parchment back on the coking dish, and cook for another 5 minutes.

8. Remove and let cool for a few minutes.  This is a dish best served hot!  Sprinkle some more cheese to taste, and for those that like a little spark, that’s what the crushed red pepper is for!

Serve with some salad, bread, and red wine!  Enjoy!