Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Baked Rigatoni

This Baked Rigatoni from Real Mom Kitchen totally blew my mind.  It was so awesome! 

Although, it nearly almost wasn't. 

I kept spilling things on the floor and counter.  The ingredients for the roux, the roux itself, noodles, etc.  Then I pulled it out of the oven 10 seconds before burning the cheese on top.

 Yeah I almost nearly burnt that bad boy.  And it wasn't even because I wasn't paying attention. The oven must have been running hot that day because I followed the recipe exactly.

Luckily my clumsiness didn't ruin the dinner.

 I made two minor changes to this recipe.  Instead of using mozzarella, I used Italian Blend pre shredded cheese.  Then I added peas.  I love how it gave the dish some color, and I didn't have to mess around with figuring out any side dishes for our meal.

And the absolute best part of the dish?  The leftovers tasted just as awesome as they did the first time around.  Everyone WANTED to eat this the second time around.  That's what I call winning!

Baked Rigatoni adapted from Real Mom Kitchen
1 pkg (16 oz) rigatoni pasta ( I used penne)
1/2 c butter
1/2 c flour
1 qt milk (4 cups) (I used skim)
2 c grated mozzarella cheese (I used Italian blend)
about 1/2 lb thinly sliced ham (I used 1/2 lb leftover cubed ham)
seasonings (onion salt, pepper, cayenne pepper - just eyeball the amt)
1-2 c froz peas
small pads of butter for top (I used tiny squares of 2T butter)

Preheat oven to 425 F. Melt butter over med heat and start water boiling for pasta. Once butter's melted, whisk in flour. Add your milk to make the roux. Stir til sauce thick enough to coat back of  spoon. When water boils,  cook pasta to al dente. . When white sauce is done, add seasoning, ham, and 1 c cheese. stir well, to melt cheese. Drain pasta and add to sauce. Add 1-2 c frozen peas.  Pour mixture into a greased 9×13 pan, smooth top and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Dot top with butter bits. Bake 25 min, til top bubbly and brown. (To make ahead of time and freeze: cool completely after pouring in pan, then add cheese and butter. Cover securely and freeze.  If cooking from freezer, add 30 minutes  to the cooking time, and check the center before serving.

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