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The ingredients needed to prepare Baked Rigatoni and Meatballs :
- Prepare 1 box (16 oz.) of rigatoni noodles.
- Get 2 cups of ricotta cheese.
- Take 1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese.
- Provide of Sauce:.
- Take 1 tbsp. of olive oil.
- Get 3 cloves of garlic, minced.
- Prepare 3 cans (8 oz.) of each unsalted tomato sauce.
- Use 1/4 cup of heavy cream.
- Get 1 tsp. of each dried basil, dried parsley.
- Use 1/2 tsp. of each salt, granulated sugar, onion powder.
- Use 1/4 tsp. of pepper.
- Provide of Meatballs:.
- Provide 1 lb. of ground beef.
- Prepare 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs.
- Take 1/4 cup of freshly grated parmesan cheese.
- Get 1 of large egg.
- Provide 1 tsp. of dried parsley.
- You need 1/2 tsp. of each salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, basil.
- Prepare 1 tbsp. of olive oil.
Instructions to make Baked Rigatoni and Meatballs :
- First thing to do is get your sauce going. In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Once it's hot, add the garlic. Cook and stir just until it's fragrant… only a minute or two. Then pour in the tomato sauce, cream, sugar and seasonings. Once it starts to simmer, reduce the heat down to low and start preparing the meatballs.
- For the meatballs, place the ground beef, breadcrumbs, cheese, egg and seasonings into a large bowl. Use your hands to mix and incorporate everything together. Then roll the meat mixture into mini meatballs. Heat the oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Once it's hot, add the meatballs to the skillet in batches. Cook and roll them around in the skillet every few minutes until they are browned on all sides. Then remove them from the skillet and stir them gently into the sauce.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9×13" baking pan and set it aside. Heat a large pot of salted water over high heat. Once it begins to boil, stir in the rigatoni pasta and cook according to package directions, until al dente. Drain and return to the pot. Then stir the ricotta cheese into the hot pasta. Add the sauce and meatballs to the pot and stir it all together. Then turn it out into the greased pan and sprinkle the mozzarella cheese evenly over the top.
- Bake uncovered for 20 minutes, or until heated through and the cheese has a nice golden color. Serve immediately.
- If you only wanted to bake a smaller serving at a time, you could turn out the pasta mixture into two greased 8×8"baking pans instead of the larger 9×13". Top one with cheese and cook it immediately. Let the second one cool down completely, then top with the cheese, wrap it up tightly and place it in the freezer. The night before you're planning on baking it, place it in the fridge to thaw out overnight, then bake it for 30-40 minutes or until 165°F throughout. Each 8×8" pan will serve 4 people.
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