on Sep 03, 2015, Updated Jan 01, 2021
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We combined the likes of fresh sweet basil and fresh tomatoes, threw in some baked mozzarella cheese and pasta, and then baked it to a summer and savory perfection.
This Rigatoni Margherita came about in the wake of a visit to our favorite farmer’s market. I came across a stand of tomatoes that were too beautiful to walk away from. Instead, I found myself asking for 5 lbs of these juicy reds. Not having any specific use in mind for them, I remembered that certain things in life don’t need too much thought and this was clearly one of those decisions.
Sticking to our simple is usually the best motto; I put a basic ragu together using my windfall from the farmer’s market, along with a few other flavorful ingredients. In the midst of it all, we added a big dose of summer, fresh mozzarella cheese, and fresh chopped basil. We are calling this Rigatoni Margherita. You’re going to call it delicious. Don’t get caught up in semantics, though. The two terms are interchangeable.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 lb. sweet Italian sausage
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 small onion, coarsely diced
- 1 cup red wine
- 2 1/2 lbs fresh tomatoes, washed and quartered
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped.
- 8 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced in 1/2" x 1" pieces
- 1 lb rigatoni pasta
- Using large skillet, heat olive oil over medium high setting and add sausage. Stir to brown.
- Reduce heat, add onion and garlic and sauté until onions are soft and translucent.
- Add wine to deglaze pan, stirring up brown bits, until skillet is clean.
- Continue to cook until wine is reduced by 1/2.
- Stir in tomatoes and salt, and bring to simmer.
- Stir in 1/2 of basil, reserve the other half.
- Reduce heat to low, cover skillet and allow to cook for 1 to several hours.
- Prepare rigatoni to note quite al dente. Drain.
- In large mixing bowl, combine ragu with pasta, stir to thoroughly combine.
- Apply non-stick spray to 9 x 9 baking dish.
- Place 1/3 of mixture into baking dish, evenly distribute 1/3 of basil and cheese evenly over layer.
- Repeat two more times.
- Bake at 375 degrees F for 50 minutes.
- Garnish with additional basil and Parmesan cheese if desired.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.