Sunday, August 25, 2019

(Easy) Rigatoni with Sausage and Peppers

Cooking my way through Marlene Koch's Eat What You Love Restaurant Favorites, I have had far more hits than misses. While Ina Garten has been my idol for years, I give kudos to Koch, who can make seriously lightened versions of favorite dishes taste like the originals.  This dish, which can be made totally on the stove if you're pressed for time, is satisfying and delicious. I made a few small changes, none of which affected the nutritional value.

INGREDIENTS - 4 servings

4 ounces dry rigatoni
2 tsp olive oil
1 cup chopped onions
1 medium green pepper, chopped
8 oz Italian sweet sausage (remove casings)
1 1/2 cups marinara
1/3 cup nonfat half and half
1 tbs reduced fat cream cheese
1/2 tsp garlic powder
3 tbs grated parmigiana cheese, divided
1/2 cup shredded light mozzarella

Cook the pasta according to package directions for al dente pasta; drain and set aside.

While the pasta cooks, heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high meat. Add onions and peppers and cook until they begin to soften (about 5 minutes).. Add sausage and continue to cook, breaking up the meat into pieces with a spoon, until sausage is cooked and peppers are almost tender.

Add marinara to skillet and stir. Add half and half, cream cheese, garlic powder, and 2 tbs of the parmigiana and stir until everything is combined. Add the pasta and stir to combine.

At this point you can transfer to a baking dish, top with the mozzarella and the remaining grated cheese and bake, covered, at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Or, you can add the remaining ingredients to the skillet, cover, and cook on low heat until the cheese melts.
At 8 Smart Points (350 calories) per serving, this is a delicious and filling entree that comes together in the time it took me to make a salad. It was very saucy, but there was enough meat and vegetables to fill out the small amount of pasta per serving. I'm looking forward to eating the leftovers.