Baked Rigatoni With Meatballs and Peppers


Kosher salt
1 pound rigatoni
2 tablespoons extra-virigin olive oil, plus more for brushing
4 cloves garlic, sliced
Pinch of red pepper flakes
1 28-ounce can plum tomatoes
1 15-ounce can plum tomatoes
4 large sprigs basil
3/4 pound pancetta, diced and browned
1 cup meatballs, cooked and quartered
1 cup sliced roasted red peppers
1 cup chopped black or green pitted olives
3 cups shredded mild provolone cheese
1 cup freshly grated ricotta salata


Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the rigatoni until very al dente, 2 to 3 minutes less than the label directs; drain.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until the garlic is golden. Crush the plum tomatoes into the skillet with your hands; rinse out each can with 1/2 cup water and add the water to the skillet. Add the basil; simmer, uncovered, until the sauce is thickened, about 15 minutes. Discard the basil; season the sauce with salt. (Alternatively, heat 4 cups prepared tomato sauce.)

Stir the pancetta into the sauce, then add the meatballs, roasted red peppers and olives.

Brush a 3-to-4-quart baking dish with olive oil. Toss the cooked pasta with the sauce and half of each cheese. Spread in the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the pasta. Bake, uncovered, until browned, about 15 minutes. Let rest 15 minutes before serving.

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