Bubbly blup. Bubbly blup. I could hear the sound of cheese bubbling inside the cauldron, and knew this must be the work of the kooky witch who resides inside of me and dwells in my kitchen. My eyes twitched back and forth, back and forth, imitating the old cat clock that hung on the wall. Back and forth counting the seconds. I knew my Halloween party guests would arrive soon, and I had a little more than an hour to make things perfect. Thank the howling ghosts for Target, I was able to pull the whole party together with one trip to my local store. What a time saver…. I couldn’t have done it without them. It was time to make this kooky witch come to life with the hour I had to spare. My cauldron had a pile of cheese and pasta baking in the oven….. I didn’t find a need for an open flame this time… After all, I’m a modern witch.
Once my make-up was on and my pointy hat in place (pssst…. I bought all my costume accessories at Target, too), it was time to dress the table. The witch’s cauldron baked rigatoni was enough to feed an army, and I was glad because I certainly had a lot of guests coming. I felt like a magical spell made me move faster than usual. Then, right as the last spooky detail was finished, I heard the doorbell ring, and a voice from behind the door say “Ding dong the witch is cooking again.”
Ingredients for Witch’s Cauldron Baked Rigatoni:
- 2 – tablespoons olive oil
- 1 – onion (chopped)
- 1 – yellow bell pepper (chopped)
- 9 – ounces mushrooms (sliced)
- 1 – tablespoon minced garlic
- 1/2 – cup fresh chopped basil
- 1 – teaspoon salt
- 3 – cups tomato sauce
- 1 – pound chopped tomatoes (canned)
- 1 – pound crushed tomatoes (canned)
- 1/2 – teaspoon oregano
- 1 – pound ground beef
- 1 – pound ground pork
- 2 – pounds rigatoni
- 1 – cup cheddar cheese (grated)
- 1 – cup Parmesan cheese (grated)
- 1 – cup jack cheese (grated)
- 1 – cup mozzarella cheese (grated)
- In a large pot over a medium flame add in olive oil and allow to get hot.
- Add in onion and bell pepper and saute for 5 minutes stirring every so often.
- Add in mushrooms and garlic, mix to combine cooking for 3 additional minutes before adding in the basil and salt.
- Add in 1 cup tomato sauce, chopped tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, and oregano. Mix to combine and allow mixture to brew for about 10 minutes.
- While tomato mixture is cooking, in a separate pan cook ground beef and ground pork for 10 to 15 minutes or until no longer pink. Break up meat with the back of a spatula.
- Add the meat to the tomato mixture. Mix to combine.
- Once the tomato/meat mixture starts to boil, lower flame and let simmer for about 30 minutes.
- In a large pot, boil the rigatoni for 10 minutes, then drain and set to the side. (divide the pasta into 4 parts, 1/2 pound each part)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a large dutch oven (12 quarts) pour 1 cup of tomato sauce into the bottom. Smooth out with the back of a spoon. Pour 1/2 pound of cooked rigatoni on top of tomato sauce.
- Then pour 2 cups of tomato/meat mixture on top of rigatoni. Smooth out with back of the spoon.
- Sprinkle with cheddar cheese. Then another part pasta, tomato/meat mixture, Parmesan cheese, pasta, tomato/meat mixture, jack cheese, pasta, tomato/meat mixture, 1 cup tomato sauce, and top the whole thing off with mozzarella cheese.
- Bake for 1 hour.
For more recipes from Nicole Presley click over to her blog: Presley’s Pantry
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