Rigatoni + Italian Sausage w/ Parmesan Cheese Rolls
rigatoni and italian sausage pasta. pretty much needs no introduction, it just is. pasta greatness. particularly my favorite because sometimes the meat can hide inside the rigatoni pasta and when you bite into it, it’s like BOOM – guess who stepped in the room. (p.s. – go ahead and listen to that while you cook this 😉 thank me later)
i know, typically, rigatoni pasta is baked, but.. is that a requirement? i think the requirement is a proper parmesan cheese dinner roll to absorb every ounce of delicious pasta sauce lingering around in the bowl… you know, bring it all full circle. literally + figuratively.
the best part of all of this rigatoni and italian sausage greatness is that, the left overs taste just as good, if not better, than the first day. i couldn’t imagine a better tasting left and you know, when you reheat dinner rolls, they may taste dry or “hard” or just plain not as good the next day?? – NOT THESE!
– i chose italian links instead of ground italian sausage because, once the italian sausage links have begun to cook, the casing allows you to cut them into chunks giving you bigger pieces of meat! if you’re not into that, ground italian sausage may be your alternative.
– i don’t always desire to remake the pasta sauce wheel, because why? sometimes, time just does not permit – HOWEVER – i am not opposed to adding my own flare to a pre-made pasta sauce. my first go to is Private Selection Tomato Basil Sauce
– kitchen appliances do come up missing from time to time, meaning you may have to get creative. if you do not have a garlic mincer, you can use a cheese grater..or just be prepared to chop very fine pieces. 🙂
45 minPrep Time
45 minCook Time
1 hr, 30 Total Time
3-4 links of italian sausage
4 cups of rigatoni pasta
2 ½ cups of flour
2 ½ cups of pasta sauce + ½ cup of water to loosen
1 cup of parmesan cheese
1 cup of milk (luke warm/warm)
1 ½ teaspoon of garlic powder + ½ teaspoon of garlic powder for parmesan cheese rolls
1 teaspoon of oregano
½ teaspoon of salt
1 packet of active dry yeast OR 2 ¼ teaspoon of active dry yeast
1 teaspoon of salt
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
2 tablespoons of butter
2 cloves of garlic minced
in a skillet, heat a teaspoon of olive oil with a clove of chopped garlic and italian sausage. once the italian sausage has cooked on the outside, slice each link into slices, then half those slices. depending on the size of your sausage, you may even be able to cut smaller and still have large chunks!! =)
stirring frequently, watch for the color of your meat to change. once the sausage has cooked to the point where very little pink is left, add 2 1/2 cups of pasta sauce, stirring in 1/2 cup of water to loosen the thickness. if you like the consistency of your pasta sauce, omit this step!
let the meat and sauce mix for about 10 minutes, allowing the flavors to settle. add in oregano, garlic powder and salt. turn the temperature to low and cover.
parmesan cheese rolls.
in a cup add packet (or 2 1/4 teaspoon) of active dry yeast to warm milk and mix until it has completely dissolved into the milk, then let stand. (the easiest way to mix this is with a whisk).
sift 2 cups of flour into a bowl and add 1 teaspoon of salt, 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil and yeast mixture. mix until it seems as if the dough is too sticky, add in about 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese and stop stirring. slowly add 1/2 cup of flour until the dough forms into a thicker consistency. cover your bowl with saran wrap and let stand until the flour rises. this can take anywhere from 45 minutes to 1 hour.
preheat your oven to 400 degrees. boil your rigatoni pasta as instructed on the box. start grading a cup of parmesan cheese. stir your pasta sauce mixture and give it a taste test. do you like it? does it need more salt? adjust to your preference.
in a skillet, on low heat, melt two tablespoons of butter, 1 clove of minced garlic and garlic powder until the garlic has cooked down. pour the butter mixture into a bowl and set aside. start to take your garlic rolls and roll them into the palms of your hands, creating several small balls and toss in the butter mixture (in a separate bowl of course). don't worry that they may stick together, they won't.
start to align your garlic rolls inside of an oven safe pan and sprinkle extra parmesan cheese across the top. bake in the oven for about 20 to 25 minutes. once finished, spread butter across the top and allow the butter to melt across and into the bread. it makes a difference, i promise.
fold your rigatoni and italian sausage sauce together GENTLY. noodles can be quite fussy at this time. bake or not to bake, that is completely at your discretion. however, my suggestion is - if you decide to bake - add some parmesan cheese on top and bring it all full circle.