What a better way to appeal to everyone's healthy appetite with this easy-to-make, delicious dish.
measuring cups and spoons
9 x 13-inch casserole dish
1 lb (450 g) rigatoni
2 Tbsp (30 mL) butter, divided
1 each, small onion, carrot, celery stalk, diced
1 lb (450 g) lean ground beef or pork
2 cloves garlic, minced
28-oz (796 mL) can diced tomatoes
1 bay leaf
2 tsp (10 mL) dried basil
1/2 tsp (2 mL) each, dried oregano and thyme
3/4 tsp (4 mL) salt, divided
1/2 tsp (2 mL) pepper
2 Tbsp (30 mL) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups (375 mL) milk
1 cup (approx 1/2 450 g container) ricotta
1 1/2 cups (375 mL) shredded mozzarella
In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta 11 min or until al dente. Drain well, then return to pot. Meanwhile, melt 1 Tbsp (15 mL) butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, carrot and celery, cook 2 min. Add beef and garlic. Using a fork to break up meat, stir until no longer pink, about 5 min. Add tomatoes, herbs, 1∕2 tsp (2 mL) salt and pepper. Bring to a boil; simmer covered, stirring occasionally, for 10 min while preparing white sauce.
Melt remaining butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Sprinkle with flour and remaining salt. Whisk about 1 min. Gradually whisk in milk. Bring to a boil then reduce heat; whisk 3 to 5 min until smooth and thickened.
Preheat broiler. Uncover meat sauce and simmer 5 more min. Discard bay leaf. Add meat sauce to drained pasta. Heat if needed. Transfer to a 9 x 13-inch (3 L) casserole dish. Top with dollops of ricotta. Drizzle white sauce over top, spread, if needed, to cover. Sprinkle with mozzarella. Broil 2 to 5 min or until cheese is bubbly.
Cooking tip: As with all sauces, make them your own. Taste and adjust seasoning to your preferences.
This classic, one-pan meal is perfect for those nights when you want to treat your family to something delicious and hearty without the big cleanup. For added creaminess, add a generous dollop of sour cream!