Weeknight Rigatoni with Meat Sauce

Weeknight Rigatoni with Meat Sauce

Now that the holidays are over, it's back to the grind. Back to work. Back to school. Back to all the extra curricular activities that we are all involved in. Well, not exactly....

We were hit by a massive snowstorm here in Michigan over the weekend so the kids have not been back to school yet. But hopefully in a day or so they will, and things will be back to being crazy again.

I mentioned this before, but my goal for 2014 is to eat less processed foods. I started last year and I'm hoping slowly to cut them out for good. That means clean eating, and making everything homemade.

Making homemade meals does not necessarily mean that it has to take a lot of time. Obviously we are all short of that some days. So I created a quick and easy weeknight rigatoni with meat sauce.

Pair this hearty dish with a salad and some garlic bread or breadsticks and you've got the perfect weeknight dinner in a flash!

Weeknight Rigatoni with Meat Sauce
Recipe written by The Chef Next Door
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1 lb. Italian sausage
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
Red pepper flakes, a dash or two
28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 lb. rigatoni
Fresh Parmesan cheese for garnish

Fill a large pot with approximately 4 quarts of water and heat to boiling. Once the water is boiling, add a tablespoon of salt. Add the rigatoni to the pot and let cook, uncovered, on high heat for 8-10 minutes, or until al dente. 

Once you've got the water started, begin making the sauce.  Heat a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add the garlic, onion, oregano, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are softened. Add the sausage and use a wooden spoon to break it up into small pieces. Cook until the sausage is no longer pink.

Add the tomato paste and crushed tomatoes and mix well. Let the mixture come to a boil then simmer, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes. 

When the rigatoni is cooked, use a spider and transfer the noodles into the pot with the sauce. Mix the noodles and sauce until well combined.

Top with freshly shredded Parmesan and serve.

Bon Appetit!

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