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Baked Rigatoni with Sausage and Mixed Peppers


10 servings (serving size: about 1 cup)

Prep: 22 minutes; Cook: 43 minutes   A balsamella (bal-sah-MEHL-ah) is a white sauce made from milk and flour. It's a staple of Italian cooking and is often used as a topping for baked pasta dishes. It adds creamy richness to this dish and keeps the pasta moist as it bakes.


  • 16 ounces uncooked rigatoni (tube-shaped pasta)
  • 8 ounces hot turkey Italian sausage
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 3/4 cups chopped onion (about 1 large)
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, seeded and cut into strips
  • 1 medium yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut into strips
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and cut into strips
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (26-ounce) jar marinara sauce with Burgundy wine (such as Bertolli)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups fat-free milk
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided

Nutrition Information

  • calories 341
  • fat 5.5 g
  • satfat 1.8 g
  • protein 17 g
  • carbohydrate 54.2 g
  • fiber 4.3 g
  • cholesterol 25 mg
  • iron 3.1 mg
  • sodium 707 mg
  • calcium 162 mg

How to Make It

  1. Preheat oven to 425°.

  2. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat.

  3. While pasta cooks, remove casings from sausage. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add sausage and onion; cook until sausage is browned, stirring to crumble. Add bell peppers and garlic; cook 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in marinara sauce; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes or until peppers are tender.

  4. Drain pasta, and return to pan. Add pepper mixture; toss gently to coat. Divide pasta mixture evenly between 2 (11 x 7-inch) baking dishes coated with cooking spray.

  5. Place flour and salt in a medium saucepan. Gradually add milk, stirring with a whisk until well blended. Bring to a boil over medium heat, and cook 3 minutes or until thick, stirring constantly with a whisk. Remove from heat; stir in 1/2 cup cheese. Pour 1 cup white sauce over each casserole; sprinkle each with 1 tablespoon cheese. Bake at 425° for 20 minutes or until lightly browned and bubbly.

  6. Freezer Friendly: This recipe makes two casseroles--enough for a crowd. Or serve one for a family meal and freeze the other for later. When you're ready, simply bake the frozen casserole, covered, at 425° for 30 minutes; uncover and bake an additional 30 minutes.

Oxmoor House Healthy Eating Collection