Hot & Smoky Rigatoni Bake
This smoky pasta casserole can be made ahead for busy weeknights or weekend potlucks. Cover with foil and refrigerate or freeze, then pop it in the oven when you're ready to serve. If cooking from frozen, leave the foil on and bake for 1 hour, then remove foil and bake an additional 15 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add rigatoni to pot and boil for 10 minutes, just until al dente. Drain and set aside.
While pasta is cooking, in a small bowl, combine ricotta and half of the grated parmesan. Stir and set aside. In a large sauce pan over medium heat, add olive oil and sausage. Brown sausage for 7-9 minutes until it reaches 145°F, breaking meat up with a spoon as it cooks. Add paprika and stir to combine. Reduce heat to low and add marinara. Heat until sauce is warmed through, stirring occasionally.
Return drained pasta to pot and add half of marinara mixture, stirring to combine. Gently fold in ricotta mixture. Transfer half of the pasta to a 9x13 pan. Sprinkle half of the smoked Mozzarella over pasta. Top with remaining pasta and remaining remaining sauce and spread in an even layer. Top pasta with remaining Mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses.
Place pan in middle rack of oven and bake until edges are bubbling and cheese is melted, about 35 minutes. Remove pan from oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Garnish with shredded basil, if desired, and serve.