Herby Sausage and Artichoke Baked Pasta

Use spicy Italian sausage to kick this fontina-packed pasta up a notch.
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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 1 hr 5 min
  • Active: 20 min
  • Yield: 6
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Ingredients

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes

One 28-ounce can whole plum tomatoes, crushed by hand

One 15-ounce can whole plum tomatoes, crushed by hand

4 large sprigs fresh basil

1 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

3/4 pound spicy Italian sausage, casing removed

10 ounces frozen artichoke hearts, thawed

1 pound dried rigatoni

3 cups shredded fontina cheese

1 cup grated Parmesan

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, until the garlic is golden, about 2 minutes. Add both cans of tomatoes and 1 cup of water. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat slightly, add the basil sprigs and simmer rapidly, uncovered, until thickened, 15 to 20 minutes. Discard the basil sprigs and stir in the chopped basil and parsley. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook, breaking up any clumps with a wooden spoon, until brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer the sausage to a large bowl with a slotted spoon. Add the artichokes to the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until hot, about 3 minutes. Add the artichokes to the bowl with the sausage.
  4. Cook the rigatoni in the salted boiling water until very al dente, about 2 minutes less than the package directions. Drain the pasta and add it to the bowl.
  5. Add the tomato sauce, half of the fontina and half of the Parmesan to the bowl and stir well to combine. Transfer the pasta to a 3- to 4-quart baking dish and top with the remaining fontina and Parmesan. Bake, uncovered, until browned, about 15 minutes. Let the pasta stand about 10 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with chopped parsley.