New Baby Penne Rigate – aka “New Baby Pasta” {Freezer Meal}

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Prepare for the best pasta dish you may ever taste – I’m not kidding!

Life is pretty chaotic around here. My kids’ schoolwork and activities are picking up speed, this is the busy season for my work, holiday events are beginning to fill the calendar, our home is being renovated, all the normal mom stuff, and I have a very active 3-year-old with an insatiable need to tell me everything on his mind.

That all might sound pretty exhausting to manage, but do you know who feels even more exhausted right now? Mothers of newborns.

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When my son was born almost four years ago, I was a mess. I had waited so long through infertility to hold a baby that I couldn’t stand putting him down. During those first few weeks, I could only sleep when I was holding him, which was pretty problematic for the both of us, and then he couldn’t sleep lying down until we figured out his reflux issues. And then there is the recovery from the stress of childbirth and still taking care of other kids. I was T.I.R.E.D.

During that blur, I clearly remember my friend Lurana bringing me one of the best meals of my life. I’m not exaggerating. After dinner that night, I became territorial over the leftovers, which was tough because everyone wanted more.

(Isn’t he perfect? He is still my baby, but now he talks to me nonstop instead of crying nonstop.)

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As soon as I felt ready to cook post-baby, I begged my friend for the recipe. She is one of those impressive cooks who throws in a little of this and a little of that, so she wrote down what she remembered. I took her notes and adjusted it a little and standardized it so that I could confidently double or triple the recipe for freezer meals. That’s how the recipe got it’s name “New Baby Penne Rigate” or “New Baby Pasta” (as my kids call it) – I always wanted to remember how good it tasted at a crazy time in my life.

You need this!

Whether or not you have a newborn at home, you need this recipe in your life! When I shopped for the ingredients, I found a fantastic pasta at Walmart: La Moderna. The price was good enough that I bought a few extra boxes to keep on hand, but there is absolutely no compromise on the taste. Plus, La Moderna is a high protein pasta, which just makes me feel better about choosing it for my family. (I always keep pasta on hand for a fast, convenient dinner! Feeding a family of 6 in a hurry without spending too much can be a challenge… need I say more?)

Use this locator to find a local store that carries La Moderna pasta! Look for the pretty Golden Harvest wheat on the black box when you’re in the pasta aisle.

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The Penne Rigate turned out perfectly in my recipe.

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Now time for the recipe…

New Baby Penne Rigate or “New Baby Pasta”

Ingredients

  • 16 oz Penne Rigate (like La Moderna)
  • 1 jar spaghetti sauce
  • 1 jar Alfredo sauce
  • 2 teaspoons basil
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 2 teaspoon garlic
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 pound Italian sausage
  • 1-1.5 cups mozzarella cheese

Directions

  1. Cook pasta (Al Dente if planning to freeze).
  2. Brown sausage and remove grease, then you can prepare sauce in the same pot.
  3. Combine sauce ingredients (which is all except pasta and cheese), bring to a low boil for a few hours to reduce down the sauce. Stir occasionally.
  4. When the sauce is finished, pour into a pan (or divide into multiple pans if multiplying).
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  5. Mix in the pasta.
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  6. Top with shredded mozzarella cheese.
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  7. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes at 350. Remove foil and bake for 10-15 more minutes or until cheese is bubbly and golden brown.

Double, Triple & Freeze-ABLE!

This is the meal I always take for my friends having babies or friends just needing a night off from cooking for whatever reason, because it can go straight into their oven, or straight in the freezer! Plus, it is one of those meals that can be transported easily in a standard aluminum pan that no one has to return!

As I was preparing this recipe last week to take to a friend, I made a pan for my house too, because this recipe doubles and triples really well without any extra work! I got this text from my friend last night… I’m serious, EVERYONE loves this!

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Once my girls realized what I was making, they seriously cheered and offered to help… they were excited. This is a FAVORITE!!

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And then they needed a taste before dinner because they couldn’t wait for the friend’s meal to be delivered before our dinner. I couldn’t say no! (The entire bowls were eaten up and then we ate it again for dinner like Round 1 never happened.) If you’re looking for Pasta Recipes for Kids, look no further!

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Freezer Tips:

This is a tried and true freezer meal. I’ve frozen and baked this from frozen countless times.

  • I use the disposable aluminum pans with the aluminum lids.
  • I prepare the noodles slightly al dente, which is just a fancy way of saying I stop cooking the noodles before they’re really soft. Use good quality noodles, like La Moderna.
  • I always freeze before I bake so the shredded cheese doesn’t over-cook. I want it perfectly melty. (Is melty a word?)
  • Re-heat while frozen with the oven-safe lid on for approximately double the time, but check the center to make sure it is warm throughout before you take the lid off or remove from the oven! Once it is warm in the center, take the top off and let the cheese get melty and golden brown.

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You are welcome.

So that’s it. The world’s best pasta dish, the most amazing pasta dish you’ll ever eat… right here.

You’re welcome.

 

Happy Eating!

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This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group®  & La Moderna but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #MyExceptionalPasta #GoldenHarvest  http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV

And for quick reference!

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10 thoughts on “New Baby Penne Rigate – aka “New Baby Pasta” {Freezer Meal}

  1. I am trying this THIS WEEK!!! Sounds great for my fam AND I have a couple of meals I’d like to send to some shut-ins at church. Mary, I love the “in-process” photos, but I wonder if you could just attach a printable of just the recipe and instructions in text only? Thanks!

    1. I’m so sorry, I honestly don’t have time right now to do that. I’m at my parent’s house right now as my hardwood floors are being re-done.

      I do think this would be the perfect meal to take. That is so kind!

    1. Definitely hours! ;) It’s a pasta sauce “reduction” and you simmer it for a few hours on very low heat. The sauce will taste remarkable!! I always start it first so that I can fold laundry, do the other parts of the meal, etc., while it is cooking.

  2. I made New Baby Pasta twice this week – once for us as an experiment (a definite thumbs up) and then once for a cousin with a new baby! I brought a big tray Saturday, which they used for her baptism party yesterday – plus made extras so we’d have some, too. Yay! I reduced the sauce more the 2nd time and it definitely was better.

    My 15 year old loves it so much she wants to learn to make it herself. :)

    We are going to try the sauce all day in the crockpot on low, with the lid ajar, just to see if the reducing can do itself while I’m at work. I’ll let you know! I’m also one to want to add chard or kale to any sauce (since my family eats any vegetable in a soup/sauce but become more hesitant over a “pile on a plate” – ha) so we are going to play around with this.

    I think the sauce would be fabulous as a fun-change-up pizza sauce, or breadstick dunk sauce, and might be worth making and freezing just to be able to pull out a small package just for that reason.

    Thanks for the great versatile recipe! We have three other friends with infants and my niece was literally born yesterday, so this will get a lot of use this winter!!

    1. I can’t even tell you how happy it makes me to know you are using and loving this recipe! I’d love to hear your success with the crockpot or any other successful variations!

      1. Crock pot worked for the sauce! Yayyyy! I had time to toss the herbs, milk, and sauces in before I ran out the door, then cooked the sausage and noodles hours later, right before it went in the oven. I was back home to stir once, and the kids stirred the sauce when they got home from school. 4 hours on low would be fine. It would’ve stuck to the bottom pretty seriously if no one was around to stir, so this isn’t a “set it before everyone leaves the house for the day” recipe, unless it’s a double batch to increase volume, or water or wine or something is added. WHOA, WINE. Hmm. :) Next time.

        It was awesome as usual! We fly out to see my new niece in 10 days and my sister can’t wait for me to make this for her. :) Thanks again!!

        1. Awesome!!! Thanks for the tip!!! I absolutely love that you are loving this recipe like I do. :) I think I may need to go through my recipe book and share more time-tested favorites!!

Leave a comment! I love to hear what you think!