Baked Rigatoni alla Bolognese

Baked Rigatoni alla Bolognese

Steak. Hamburger. Roast.

If these are some of your favorite words, this blog might not be one of your favorite places.

It’s not that I don’t eat meat. It’s not that I don’t like meat. There are just so many things that I like better than red meat.

Chicken piccata. Penne alla vodka. Cajun roasted chickpeas.

These are words that soothe my soul.

So why did I bother making a pasta dish with a hearty meat ragu?

I’m a simple lady. Ground beef was on sale and I’m a sucker for a sale.

Heaven help us if brownies are on sale.

Baked Rigatoni alla Bolognese

Don’t be intimidated by the long list of ingredients. This recipe actually comes together rather quickly with a lot of simmering time where you can be doing other things (like eating brownies).

There are three aspects to this dish – the ragu, the béchamel sauce, and the pasta. They are prepared separately and put together to complete a very rich and comforting meal.

This was not one of my favorite pasta dishes, but I think that’s just because I don’t eat much red meat. The flavor was very beefy and authentic, and I think it would please any meat-loving meal-goer at your table. Its also a very hearty dish that pairs nicely with a light salad.

If you enjoy this recipe, let me know. Maybe I’ll work on a hamburger roast steak pasta for you. Well, probably not.

Baked Rigatoni alla Bolognese

Baked Rigatoni a
 
Ingredients
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1¼ cups red wine
  • 1¼ cups beef stock
  • 1 (15 oz) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 cups milk
  • 3½ tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 pound rigatoni
  • 6 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. In a large skillet or medium saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and flecked with brown, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook one minute, stirring. Add the beef and continue to cook, stirring, until no longer pink. Stir in the wine, stock, tomatoes, tomato paste, and oregano. Heat just until simmering, half cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, about 40 minutes until the beef is very tender and the sauce is reduced. If it becomes too dry, add a little water. If the sauce is too watery, remove the lid. Season and stir in the parsley.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Spray a large gratin dish with cooking spray.
  3. Cook the rigatoni 2 minutes less than specified on the package directions. Drain well.
  4. Meanwhile, make the béchamel sauce.
  5. In a small saucepan, heat the milk over medium heat until bubbles appear around the edge, then remove from the heat.
  6. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat until sizzling but not brown. Whisk in the flour and cook, stirring, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and slowly whisk in the milk. Return to the heat and bring to a boil while stirring. Lower the heat and simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. Toss the pasta with 4 tablespoons of the cheese, then the ragu and béchamel sauce. When well mixed, spread evenly in the gratin dish and sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan cheese. Drizzle a little olive oil over the top.
  8. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until the top is brown. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

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