This is definitely the Cadillac of all mac ‘n cheeses – tasty pillows of potato and parmesan gnocchi coated with a creamy, mild cheese sauce and topped with crisp goodness? Enough said.
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This Italian comfort food always hits the spot… hot, or cold the next morning (is that so wrong?). There are so many things you can do with this dish to personalize it to your taste, consider it a blank canvas.
- 1 lb. Rigatoni
- 1 small (15 oz.) container Ricotta cheese – approximately 2 cups
- 2 cups Mozzarella cheese, grated
- 1 cup Pecorino Romano (or Parmesan) cheese, grated
- 1 egg, beaten
- 2 1/2 cups Robust Red Sauce (approximately 5 ladles full – or as much as you desire)
- Fresh veggies (broccoli, zucchini, artichoke hearts, red peppers, black olives)
- Ground beef or turkey; sausage (brown the meat separately and add it to your sauce)
HOW TO MAKE IT
- Cook your pasta a minute less than ‘al dente’ – you want it to be too hard to eat, but somewhat cooked
- Strain the cooked pasta and return to the same pot – stir in the ricotta cheese while the pasta is still hot
- Add in the beaten egg and mix well
- Pour in at least 1 cup of mozzarella cheese (you can either save the rest for topping, or cut it off there)
- Add in 1/2 cup of the pecorino romano (or parmesan) and save the rest for topping
- Pour in the sauce and mix well – you want the mixture to be pretty wet because it will absorb in the pasta when it cooks in the oven
- Pour the cheesy pasta into a large baking dish and top off with desired cheese(s)
- Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes (covered with aluminum foil for 20 minutes and uncovered for the last 10)