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Rigatoni Bake With Ground Beef and Cheese

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Rigatoni Bake

Rigatoni Bake

Diana Rattray
This rigatoni bake is a great everyday meal for the family. Serve this pasta casserole with fresh baked cornbread or garlic bread and a tossed salad.

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces rigatoni, cooked, drained, and rinsed following package directions
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound extra-lean ground beef
  • 1 large carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, diced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper or green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 small zucchini, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced, about 1 cup
  • 4 cloves garlic, mashed and finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Creole or Cajun seasoning, such as Emeril's, Tony Chachere, or Zatarain
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried leaf oregano or Italian seasoning herb blend
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) tomatoes with juice, diced
  • 4 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons dry red wine, or more water
  • 8 ounces mozzarella cheese, about 2 cups, divided

Preparation:

Heat oven to 350°. Lightly grease a 2 1/2-quart baking dish or spray with nonstick cooking spray.

In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add ground beef, carrot, onion, and celery. Cook, breaking the ground beef up and stirring, until ground beef is browned and onion is tender. Add the bell pepper, zucchini, garlic, Creole sasoning, and oregano or Italian seasoning. Continue cooking, stirring, for about 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, water, and wine or more water; bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for about 10 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. Combine the sauce mixture with the cooked, drained rigatoni.

Spoon half of the pasta mixture into the baking dish; sprinkle evenly with half of the cheese. Top with remaining pasta mixture and remaining cheese. Bake for 20 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.

Serves 6 to 8.

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