Rigatoni al Forno

  • 7 tbsp butter
  • 2 cups onion, finely chopped
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 pound mushrooms, quartered
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tablespoon freshly chopped basil
  • 1 tsp sage
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 6 cups Italian plum tomatoes, peeled
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 pound ziti pasta
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 pound mozzarella cheese
  • 2 cups grated Parmesan
  1. Heat 3 tablespoons butter with onion in a large pan until tender.
  2. Add mushrooms and continue cooking until liquid evaporates.
  3. Fully cook ground pork in a separate dish. Drain excess fat and add the mixture from the other pan.
  4. Add garlic, fennel, basil, sage, oregano, and red pepper. Continue cooking for 3 minutes, stirring regularly.
  5. Add tomatoes, water, and chicken broth, then simmer for 1 hour. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Simmer another 15 minutes after adding chopped parsley.
  7. Stir in the 2 tablespoons olive oil then set aside to cool.
  8. Bring a very large pot of water to boil and cook pasta until just tender – al dente. Immediately drain in ice cold water.
  9. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  10. Spread an even layer of sauce along the bottom of a baking dish. Add a single layer of ziti, then a thin layer of Parmesan and half the mozzarella (cut into small cubes). Continue with another 2 layers, making sure to end with Parmesan.
  11. Top with bits of the remaining butter sprinkled on top.
  12. Bake for 30 minutes or until thoroughly bubbling. Set under broiler for a few minutes to brown.
  13. Cut into squares and serve warm.