Pasta is on Tall & Handsome’s favorite food list. Loving wife that I am, it’s my job to make pasta dishes in our house as healthy and tasty as possible.
My personal preference is light dishes, but T & H loves those creamy heavy classics. We are finding a happy meeting place, especially now that he is dealing with sugar problems.
Today’s pasta recipe is incredibly tasty and has some great health benefits. Don’t be put off by the albacore. Seriously. Albacore is the “white meat” of tuna. It has a less fishy taste, especially if packed in water and not oil. It’s the only tuna I’ll eat.
Albacore is rich in protein, selenium and vitamin B12. If packed in water it has even less fat and calories than darker tuna. Better yet, albacore is a rich source of omega -3 fatty acids that help reduce heart disease. And, the selenium works with the protein to create antioxidants to regulate thyroid hormones.
Since I used a jar of sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, I didn’t have to reconstitute them before using them. Because of the way they’re processed the taste is a little more intense adding a brightness and zest to the final dish. And, of course they carry antioxidants, Vitamin A, Vitamin C and calcium.
This is the type of pasta dish you can eat year round – and we will be adding this to our yearly menu rotation. Yes, T & H gave it his two thumbs up. You have to love a man who’s that appreciative.
Baked Rigatoni with Ricotta, Albacore and Sun-Dried Tomatoes
1 16 ounce box rigatoni pasta, cooked according to directions (about 8 – 10 minutes)
1 16 ounce carton part skim or reduced fat ricotta cheese
2 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided
6 tablespoons half and half or fat free half and half
1 12 ounce can albacore tuna packed in water, drained and flaked (you can also use low sodium)
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 4 ounce jars sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil
salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a 13 x 9 baking dish with cooking spray.
- Cook the rigatoni according to directions – in salted boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes until pasta starts to become tender.
- While rigatoni is cooking combine ricotta cheese with the flaked and drained albacore tuna in a medium sized bowl. Make sure the tuna is combined well with the ricotta.
- Next, add 1 cup of the Parmesan cheese, the beaten egg and the tablespoon of minced garlic to the ricotta and albacore mixture. Combine to mix well. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- When pasta is done, remove from heat and drain.
- Place half of the cooked pasta in the bottom of the prepared 13 x 9 baking dish. Next, spoon the ricotta and albacore mixture evenly over the pasta layer. Cover with the remaining cooked pasta.
- Next, make a topping by combining the remaining 1 – 1/2 cups of Parmesan cheese with the 6 tablespoons of half and half. Spoon this mixture over the top of the pasta.
- Finally lay strips of sun-dried tomatoes over the top of the pasta in a lattice design. (I would recommend covering with foil because the tomatoes have a tendency to burn otherwise. You can remove the foil during the last 5 minutes of baking if you prefer a darker top.)
- Bake for 20 minutes until dish is heated through.
© 2016 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.