Tonight is all about the cheesy, hearty flavors of baked pasta. We’re coating fresh rigatoni with a simple tomato sauce that gets a boost of silky texture from heavy cream. Mushrooms and spinach add hearty texture and balance out the richness. For another layer of savory flavor, we’re topping the pasta with fresh mozzarella, then baking it to melt the cheese and bring all the flavors together.
adapted from from Blue Apron.
- 1 pound rigatoni pasta
- 1 14-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, gently broken apart
- ½ pound fresh mozzarella cheese, torn into bite-sized pieces
- 12 ounces cremini mushrooms, stems removed, quartered
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- ½ pound baby spinach
- 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 shallot, thinly sliced
- ¼ cup grated pecorino or parmesan cheese
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- Preheat the oven to 475°F. Heat a large pot of salted water to boiling on high. Add the pasta to the pot of boiling water. Cook according to package directions, until just shy of al dente. Turn off the heat. Reserving ½ cup of the pasta cooking water, drain thoroughly and return to the pot.
- While the pasta cooks, in a large pan, heat 1 Tablespoon of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, 4 to 5 minutes, or until lightly browned and slightly softened. Add the shallot and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 2 to 3 minutes, or until softened and fragrant.
- Add the tomato paste to the pan; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, 1 to 2 minutes, or until dark red and fragrant. Add the tomatoes and heavy cream; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 2 to 3 minutes, or until slightly reduced in volume. Turn off the heat.
- Add the finished sauce, spinach, and half the reserved pasta cooking water to the pot of cooked pasta. Stir vigorously until the pasta is thoroughly coated and the spinach has wilted. If the sauce seems dry, gradually add the remaining pasta cooking water to achieve your desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Transfer the finished pasta to a baking dish. Top with the mozzarella cheese and half the pecorino cheese. Bake 9 to 11 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and the sauce is slightly thickened. Remove from the oven and top with the remaining pecorino cheese. Let stand for at least 2 minutes before serving. Enjoy!