Creamy Baked Rigatoni with Meat Sauce
- 1 pound box rigatoni, cooked till barely al-dente
For the sauce:
- Olive oil
- 1/2 cup onion, chopped
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 (28 ounce) can crushed Italian style tomatoes
- 1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
- 1 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
- Fresh ground pepper, to taste
- 1/3 cup red wine
- 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
For the bechamel:
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 cup lowfat milk, slightly warmed
- Dash ground nutmeg
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated or shaved
Cook onion and garlic in olive oil till tender. Add ground beef. Cook till no longer pink and drain off grease. Add remaining sauce ingredients and simmer while preparing bechamel.
In a small saucepan melt butter over medium low heat. Sprinkle in flour and whisk till smooth. Gradually whisk in milk and nutmeg. Turn heat up to medium and and whisk and cook till smooth, thick and creamy. Remove from heat.
Combine meat sauce and pasta and mix thoroughly. Spray a lasagna pan with cooking spray and layer 1/2 of the pasta mixture, half the bechamel and half the cheeses. Repeat layers. Cover with foil and bake at 350 for 35 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 5 minutes.
Make ahead method: Prepare dish but do not bake. Cover with foil and refrigerate for up to 24 hours before baking. Add about 15 minutes to baking time if cold when going in the oven.