Recipe number two in my quest to stop eating out so much is this one for a baked rigatoni pasta dish. This is a recipe I normally make for dinner every couple of weeks. And so instead of just making one batch I made a super-sized batch so I could freeze it and have it ready to go on nights when we are tempted to run out to grab something to eat at a fast food joint. This is also a nice and easy babysitter meal for nights when my husband and I have our date night, instead of ordering a pizza for the babysitter I can pop this into the oven before we leave and just have the sitter pull it out and serve it to the kids when the timer goes off. Easy, and gives me a little more money for date night!
Baked Rigatoni Pasta Freezer Meal
- 3 (16 oz.) boxes of Rigatoni pasta (you can use just about any other kind of pasta you have on hand)
- 3 jars of spaghetti sauce (I used 2 jars of Classico and 1 batch of homemade Crock-Pot Veggie Loaded Spaghetti Sauce that I had in the freezer)
- 2 lbs. sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
- 2 lbs. shredded mozzarella cheese
- 24 slices provolone cheese
In a very large stock-pot bring to boil enough water to cook pasta according to directions on the package.
Cook pasta till just al dente or even ever so slightly undercooked as the pasta will absorb some of the extra sauce. You don’t want mushy pasta.
In a large skillet (or I use my electric frying pan) brown and crumble the Italian sausage, drain and rinse to remove extra fat.
Add sausage back into skillet and add spaghetti sauce to the pan. (If using jarred sauce I like to add about 1/4 cup of water to the empty jar and swirl it around to get the last bit of sauce and add the saucy water to the pan). At this time you may opt to add in some extra herbs and spices to jazz up your sauce – this is optional but I like to sometimes add a little dried oregano and basil to mine.
Cook sauce and sausage for about 10 minutes until sauce is hot.
Drain pasta and add it back into your large stock-pot, pour spaghetti sauce and sausage over cooked pasta and stir to combine.
Divide pasta into four 11 3/4 inch by 9 3/8 inch aluminum foil pans (I purchase my pans at the Dollar Tree 2 for $1.00)
Sprinkle each pan of pasta with 1/2 lb. of shredded mozzarella cheese and then top with 6 slices of provolone cheese.
Cover pans with a double layer of aluminum foil.
Label each pan with instructions on how to cook. I simply wrote on a 3×5 index card “Baked Rigatoni Pasta with the date – Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour”
We cooked one pan for ourselves for dinner that night and froze the other three pans for dinner at a later date.
Easy! It took about 5 minutes more to make 4 batches of a yummy pasta dish than it did to make just one batch. We usually serve this with a side salad and some garlic bread.
Notes – this is a very adaptable recipe, if you are gluten free use some gluten free pasta and a GF pasta sauce, if no dairy, omit the cheese or use a lactose free cheese. If you are a vegetarian omit the sausage or use a meat free alternative. I do recomend you try that homemade sauce in the crock-pot…that is super tasty, loaded with healthy veggies and is gluten free, dairy free, vegan, low fat, low sodium. It is my preferred sauce any day over jarred sauce.
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