I love pasta - of almost any kind! And I love "pink sauce" the most! Husband - not so much, but he loved this! That's huge at our house! Picky-eater-of-the-pickiest-kind!! I adapted this recipe from another recipe my good friend Loni gave me. Her sauce was made with ricotta and husband doesn't like the texture - remember I said he was picky? If you don't want to make your own meatballs, I suppose you could use the frozen ones that are already cooked from Costco, but those kinda freak me out. Not my favorite. If you like them, it's completely ok!! I like making these because you don't have to fry - just bake. So much easier!! Please excuse the photography - I'm horrible at it!!
In a large pot bring 6 quarts of salted water to a boil. Add 1 lb. Rigatoni noodls and cook to al dente. Drain and set aside. Do not rinse - the sauce will coat the noodles better if you don't.
1/4 c. Italian style bread crumbs
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 T. milk
3/4 grated Romano cheese
1/4 c. chopped flat leaf parsley (Italian parsley)
a little salt and black pepper
1 lb. ground beef
1 lb. ground sausage (you can use Italian sweet if you want, or omit the sausage and use 2 lb. ground beef. I like the mixed)
Mix all ingredients well with your hands or a large spoon, being careful to not overwork the meat. It makes the meatballs tough. I like to make them mini so I scoop them with a melon-baller for the perfect size. You can make larger if you want - just bake them a little longer. Lay them on a cookie sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes - just until done. If they are a little underdone that's ok. They will continue to cook when you bake the pasta. Remove from tray with a slotted spoon and set aside.
**This makes A LOT of mini-meatballs. I usually spread half of the cooked meatballs on a cookie sheet and freeze. When they're frozen, remove them from the cookie sheet and place in a Ziplock freezer bag to use another time. No need to thaw - just put them in whatever dish you're making to bake.
Heat oven to 350.
In a small sauce pan heat 1 pint of heavy whipping cream just to simmering. Do not boil. When simmering, stir in 6 oz. shredded Parmesan cheese with a wire whisk and stir until smooth. Remove from heat and set aside.
In a very large bowl, mix 48 oz of your favorite Marinara or red sauce with the Parmesan, cream sauce. This makes your pink sauce. Stir in cooked Rigatoni noodles and the meatballs. Spread in a 9x13 baking dish that has been coated with cooking spray.
Cover the top of the noodles with 2 cups of shredded mozarella mixed with 1/2 c. shredded Parmesan cheese. Bake at 350 until cheese is melted and sauce is bubbly. I like to let the cheese get a little brown on top. Serve with a nice green salad and some crusty garlic bread.