And the more different kinds of cheese, the better. No one can argue with a cheesy beefy pasta dish when you're feeling cranky. And believe it or not, this version of Baked Rigatoni is not as bad for you as it looks. It's still not good for you, but there's more fiber!
See, this article in the New York Times agrees that whole wheat pasta has come a long way in the last few years. And that article is already 3 years old, I think whole wheat pasta is even betterer now! Tender, flavorful, and not as far from regular pasta as it used to be. So nowadays, I'd say I use whole wheat pasta in place of regular about 75% of the time. I don't think J-Cat even notices.
I also used part-skim cheeses, not just for health reasons, but because I prefer less grease in general. Same for extra lean ground beef. There's not really any need for fattier beef in this dish because there is plenty of richness from the three cheeses. So go for the cheesy pasta dish, every now and then, and don't feel so bad about it. You're cranky, and you deserve it. Recipe after the jump:
SLIGHTLY LESS GUILT-INDUCING BAKED RIGATONI
1 lb whole wheat rigatoni
1 lb extra lean ground beef (at least 90% lean)
2 tsps olive oil
3 cups marinara sauce (homemade or jarred)
2 cups part-skim ricotta cheese
2 cups part-skim mozarella cheese, shredded
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook pasta 2 minutes less than the package suggests. While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a large saute pan. Add the beef, salt and pepper it liberally, and brown lightly. Add the marinara sauce and lower to simmer. Let simmer a few minutes until sauce is warmed through and beef is cooked. Drain the pasta and add to the sauce. Add the ricotta and parmesan and toss to mix well. Pour into a 9x13 baking dish lightly sprayed with cooking spray. Top with the mozzarella and bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes or until cheese is melted and starting to brown.