Baked Rigatoni with Fresh Ricotta

So…. I have very exciting news to share, although I’m not sure where to begin.

My head is a mess of information overload, and it’s times like this when I really wish I could go for a long bike ride to organize my thoughts. I’ll be able to once we move out to the ranch, since there aren’t many cars (just a lot of livestock!), and miles of flat roads.


Anyway, for now, I’ll have to channel my energy into baking – and yesterday, that was a bit of a debacle in itself.

Good news? I figured out how/why things aren’t baking evenly in the oven, and solved the problem.

Bad news? I ruined another batch of chocolate chip cookies. No loss, though – I gave them to Alexander’s friend Jake. Who then promptly proceeded to devour them.

Ok – so the big news is this: Sabrina was just accepted to Purdue University for college. Yay!! I’m so thrilled for her, and she is overjoyed beyond words. Now that she has confirmation of her acceptance, it’s like someone flipped a switch inside her. She is able to focus, her mood has improved dramatically, and yesterday she went to the salon around the corner for a bit of a “makeover”. She cut 7 inches of hair off, had her nails done, and applied for a part time job at Victoria’s Secret so she can get her “college gear” at a discount.

Smart girl….

Now, of course, the planning/organizing has started. She printed a list of necessities for dorm life, and is already eyeing the Keurig coffee machine and the little George Foreman grill to take with her, along with the mini fridge and my small convection oven.

Because, you know, those are going-away presents. Her words, not mine…..

I however, already have her going-away present planned.

The family cookbook 🙂


Baked Rigatoni with Fresh Ricotta – adapted from Food and Wine

  • 1 pound rigatoni
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 10-ounce package frozen spinach, thawed
  • 2 cups fresh ricotta cheese (I used my homemade ricotta)
  • 5 tbs. grated Parmesan
  • 1 tsp fresh-ground black pepper
  • 6 ounces fontina, grated (about 1 1/2 cups)

Heat the oven to 450°. Oil a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.

In a large pot of boiling water, cook the rigatoni until almost done, about 12 minutes. Drain. Put the pasta in the prepared baking dish and toss with 1 tablespoon of the oil.

Meanwhile, squeeze as much of the water as possible from the spinach. Put the spinach in a food processor and puree with the ricotta, 3 tablespoons of the Parmesan, and pepper. Stir in half the fontina.

Stir the spinach mixture into the pasta. Top with the remaining fontina and Parmesan. Drizzle the remaining 2 tablespoons oil over the top. Bake the pasta until the top is golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes.


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