I was cracking up when I saw some of these pictures of my pasta. I swear they are looking right at me. Girlfriend spent one too many hours at the dental convention yesterday!! Slides and slides of oral cancer get to you after a while! Don’t smoke or chew people! However, it was nice to catch up with some of my friends from hygiene school. Go class of 2001!

A few weeks ago, we got some take out from Fazolli’s, which I hadn’t been to in years, and it was actually really good. I ordered a Romano Rigatoni pasta that was surprisingly tasty. I made my own version of the pasta the other night, added a few extras and I enjoyed it even better, check it out, nice easy and cheesy!

Remember when I said I make “Florentine” dishes often? I wasn’t joking. It is so good and why not add spinach whenever you can right? I tell my boys they’ll be strong like Popeye and it works everytime. My 2 year old even likes it on his peanut butter and Jelly Sandwiches. Sick huh?!

Hope everyone has a nice weekend! AZ is going to be beautiful the next few days, even a little toasty. Summer is coming quick!

Baked Rigatoni Romano Florentine with Italian Sausage

1/2 lb dry Rigatoni pasta

2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 large onion, finely chopped
1 small red bell pepper, finely diced
4 cloves fresh garlic, minced
3/4 lb Italian Hot Sausage
Pinch of salt and fresh ground pepper
3 Cups fresh baby spinach leaves, coarsely chopped
2 14 oz cans diced fire roasted tomatoes with garlic
1 8 oz can tomato sauce
8 fresh basil leaves, stacked, rolled and thinly sliced (chiffonade)
Pinch of salt and fresh ground pepper
1/4 Cup fresh grated Romano Cheese
2 Cups shredded mozzarella Cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cook pasta according to package directions, drain and set aside. Heat oil into a large dutch oven or other large pot. Saute onion and red bell pepper for 5 minutes or until softened, stirring frequently. Stir in garlic, sausage, salt and pepper. Cook and stir until sausage is cooked through.

2. Add spinach leaves and cook until wilted down. Stir in tomatoes, tomato sauce, basil leaves, salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Add cooked pasta, stir to combine, then transfer to a 9x13inch baking dish. Sprinkle top with Romano Cheese and mozzarella Cheese. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly. Enjoy!