Last week my husband and I had the pleasure of shopping at Bario Batali’s store, Eataly, while we were in New York City. Not only do they have great ready-to-eat treats and drinks, they’ve got a fabulous marketplace stocked with gourmet foods. I would have preferred to have picked up some of their delicious-looking meats and cheeses, but I doubt they would have fared well in my luggage on the trip back home to Minnesota. Instead, we picked up a bag of rigatoni.
I’ve made rigatoni with bolognese sauce before, but it had been a long time (I usually make my parents’ spaghetti recipe when craving a red sauce). These wide noodles are great for hearty sauces like this bolognese. Veggies are the heart of the dish. Traditional bolognese is typically a bit thinner, but I like my veggies a little chunkier (as you can see in the photo on the right). For the “traditional” bolognese sauce, you can chop them in your food processor or blender for the right consistency. When it comes to cooking, I don’t like to follow the rules! You can also add Italian sausage if you’re not a fan of meatless dishes.
Frugal Tip: Mascarpone cheese can be expensive. An acceptable alternative would be to use Neufchatel or cream cheese instead. Look for great prices on fresh produce like onions, carrots, mushrooms, peppers and garlic at ALDI food stores (see what’s on sale at ALDI in the Mommysavers Grocery Bargains Forum).
- 1½ C. hot water
- 3 carrots, peeled and chopped finely
- 1 onion, peeled and chopped finely
- 1 red pepper, seeded and chopped finely
- 3 garlic cloves
- ¼ C. extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
- 1 tsp. chopped fresh oregano leaves
- 2 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pkg. white mushrooms, chopped coarsely
- 1 can tomato paste
- 1 can tomato sauce
- ⅔ C. red wine
- ½ cup mascarpone cheese
- 1 pound rigatoni pasta, cooked
- ⅔ cup Parmesan cheese
- One ring Italian sausage (optional) sliced
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the carrots, onion, red pepper, and garlic. Saute until tender. Add the thyme, oregano, salt, pepper, mushrooms, sliced sausage (optional), tomato paste and tomato sauce. Stir until sauce begins to thicken (about 5-6 minutes) and mushrooms are soft. Add the wine, and reduce heat. Cover. Simmer for 10-15 minutes. Add mascarpone cheese.
- Pour your bolognese sauce over cooked rigatoni in a large casserole baking dish. Top with grated Parmesan and bake until cheese bubbles.