Michelle is here to share a SUPER yummy recipe with us!
Michelle here from A Lighter Journey, where my friend Courtney and I are on a quest to lighten our loads and brighten our homes! Fawnda and Jeannine are so kind to let me guest post today and share a delicious story with you. Here we go!
Once upon a time I saw a commercial where a woman dropped a block of cream cheese into a pot of spaghetti sauce. It was a moment of inspiration! With the other ingredients I had on hand, a new family favorite was born: Smokey Rigatoni!
- 1 pkg smoked sausage sliced
- 1 chopped onion
- 5-6 fresh garlic cloves finely chopped
- 1 26oz can/jar of spaghetti sauce
- 1 pkg cream cheese
- 1 pkg of rigatoni (or other shaped) pasta
- 1 T smoked paprika*
- sprinkle of mozzarella and/or parmesan cheese
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
*If you don't have smoked paprika there really is NO substitute! I strongly recommend you buy some. It is really what gives this meal the smokey flavor, and it's also great added to hamburger patties, meat rubs and marinades, as well as chilis and stews! It's one of my favorite spices!
Cook pasta according to package directions. While it is cooking drizzle olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Once oil is hot, add onions and saute for 2-3 minutes until they are translucent.
Add sausage and cook until all heated through. (We like to cook it until a nice brown crust appears on the meat!) Add garlic and cook 1 more minute (be careful not to let the garlic burn!).
Turn heat down to medium-low. Next comes the inspirational ingredient: cream cheese!
Stir continually until the cream cheese completely melts. Add the smoked paprika and stir together. (It doesn't look pretty, but it will definitely smell yummy!)
Pour in spaghetti sauce and mix together. It will look something like this:
Drain pasta and stir sauce over the rigatoni. Serve with a sprinkle of cheese on top!
And our family ate happily ever after! But that's not the end of the story, because you can put your own twist to this yummy tale!
Here's a couple of variations:
Bake the smokey rigatoni (covered with cheese and pan wrapped in tin foil) in a 9x13 pan at 350 for 10-15min until hot and bubbly!
For a lighter version used turkey smoked sausage and half the amount of cream cheese (or reduced fat cream cheese). It will still be creamy and delicious!
For a meat-less version leave the sausage out all together! The smoked paprika will give it that yummy smokey flavor and you won't miss the meat.