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"Hey 'Mantha, eat your baked ziti!"

Hunkering down has meant, so far, a lot of cooking and a lot of eating.  Since we aren't able to really be in contact with others beyond immediate family members, I have been cooking for my kids, even though none of them actually live at home anymore.

This baked rigatoni is a fabulous, simple, creamy, comforting and easy pasta dish that everyone in my family loved.  I had the cudighi sausage in the freezer from a previous trip to Ralph's Italian Deli in Ishpeming.  This was the perfect use for it.

Our first confirmed case of COVID-19 is here in Houghton County.  We are not at the top of the curve yet; likely not for a while.  It will get worse before it gets better.  Stay safe, fellow foodies.

Oh, the quote in the title is a funny one liner that has become an idiom whenever I make rigatoni or ziti in my kitchen.  My cousin Joe told his daughter, Samantha,  to get in line for dinner one Christmas Even at my house probably about 12 years ago, and for some reason, how he said it cracks me up to this day. 

Baked Rigatoni

1 quart of Foodie Mama's Marinara Sauce
1 lb of medium Italian sausage or cudighi sausage
1 lb rigatoni, prepared per package instructions
8 oz Velveeta
16 oz ricotta cheese
8 oz cottage cheese
2 C shredded mozzarella cheese

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In a large dutch oven or stock pot over medium heat, crumble and brown the sausage
  3. Pour the marinara sauce over the sausage and let cook, over medium low heat for 20-30 mins
  4. Add the prepared rigatoni to the sauce.  Stir to combine, then remove from heat and set aside
  5. In a large bowl, combine the ricotta, cottage cheese and mozzarella and then set aside
  6. In a small saucepan, melt the Velveeta over low heat
  7. In a 9 x 11 pan, put a layer of the sauce and migatoni mixture, then the cheese mixture, then the velveeta, repeating 2-3 times, ending with a layer of sauce and rigatoni.  Sprinkle with shredded Parmesan cheese.
  8. Bake in preheated oven, covered with aluminum foil, for 1 hour, until bubbly
  9. Let sit for 15 minutes before serving

Baked Rigatoni