Got 12 minutes? Of course you do! That is the total time this delicious and CHEESY meal will take from start to sitting at the table to enjoy. It is packed with great flavors and also nutritious ingredients that will leave you fulfilled but not overstuffed.
I added in the ground beef for some additional protein but you can omit for a vegetarian meal or use ground chicken or ground turkey for an alternative. Again, no rules, just your preference.
Now I know some of you may ask, “How can this be healthy with the cheese?” Well, cheese is full of calcium, vitamin D and protein. And besides this, you are not using that much, just enough to give you great taste, nutrients and a melted cheese coating the pasta. YUM!
Make sure that you use a shorter pasta with some ridges such as rigatoni so the sauce and cheese can have something to stick to. For this recipe I used rigatoni, because I just love the shape, texture and taste, but you may use another “ridged” pasta.
Okay, enough of reading, now get to the kitchen and take care of your cheese fix without the guilt! Enjoy!
Cheesy Rigatoni with Ground Beef in a Fresh & Healthy Tomato Sauce
Ingredients: Serves 2
- 2 cups dry rigatoni pasta
- salt to season
- 1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3 cloves fresh garlic, smashed
- 1/2 pound lean organic ground beef
- salt and pepper to season
- 12 grape tomatoes, halved
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- about 1/4 cup of the cooked pasta water
- 1/2 cup freshly grated parmigiano reggiano cheese, plus more for serving
- 8 cherry size mozzarella cheese balls, cut into pieces
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh basil, finely chopped
Place a small pot of salted water on the stove. When it comes to a boil, add in the pasta and cook until al dente, about 12 minutes. Drain but reserve about 1/2 cup of the cooked water.
In the meantime, in a skillet, heat the olive oil. Add in the smashed garlic cloves and cook for about a minute. You want to infuse the oil with the garlic and after cooking you will discard the garlic cloves.
Add in the ground beef and cook, breaking up with the back of a wooden spoon or spatula. Season with salt and peeper. While almost cooked, about 6 minutes, add in the halved tomatoes. Cook for about 4 minutes. Add in the tomato paste and about 1/8 cup of the cooked pasta water. Mix to dissolve the paste and create a beautiful sauce. Add in the pasta to coat with the sauce. Add in the cheeses and carefully mix to coat the pasta. Top off with the parsley and basil and serve.