- 1/2 pound Italian sausage either sweet or hot
- 1/2 pound ground beef
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1/4 cup Onion (about 1 small) -- Finely chopped
- 14 ounces Italian plum tomatoes -- Chopped
- 1 Tablespoon Tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 medium carrot -- finely chopped
- 1 cup water
- 1 teaspoon garlic (about 1 -1 1/2 cloves) -- minced
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- salt & pepper to taste
- 2 1/2 cups whole milk
- pinch of each salt, white pepper, nutmeg
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- 3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 bay leaf, whole
2 cups mezzi rigatoni - uncooked
1 1/2 cups Italian cheese blend - mozzerella, fontina, provolone etc. -- Shredded
4 Tablespoons Parmesan cheese -- Grated
2 Tablespoons Plain Breadcrumbs - Dried
Cook and drain the ground beef and sausage -break up large clumps
Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the chopped onion and carrot, cook for about 5 minutes with stirring until the onions are softened and turning translucent.
Add the tomato paste and cook for another 3 minutes or until the tomato paste begins to brown. Add the garlic and herbs and cook 30 seconds to 1 minute until fragrant. Add the tomatoes, sugar and water.
Add the meats to the sauce. Adjust the salt and pepper. This will be adjusted again after simmering for 15 minutes with occasional stirring.
Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the flour and cook for 1 minute making a roux
Take the roux off the heat and slowly whisk in the milk. Add the seasonings and return to the heat.
Bring to a boil with constant stirring and cook until thick. Adjust the seasonings and remove the bay leaf. Put to the side to cool.
Boil the pasta according to package directions for al dente (other sturdy pasta can be used) Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water to loosen the mixture if needed.
Mix the pasta with the meat sauce and put into a greased 3 quart casserole. Add some of the pasta water if the mixture seems dry. Sprinkle the mixed cheeses on top, pour the cream sauce over and separate the pasta so that the sauces mix. Sprinkle the bread crumbs and parmesan cheese over the top.
Bake at 375 F for 15 - 20 minutes until golden brown and bubbling. Allow to stand 10 minutes before serving.
This was inspired by a favorite take out dish from one of our local restaurants.