Italian Sausage Meatball Rigatoni

These meatballs go together quickly. While they bake, make the pasta and the quick-fix vodka-tomato sauce. Then dig in!

Rich and flavorful pork sausage and beef meatballs make an ideal pairing for a creamy, mildly spicy vodka sauce. Rigatoni, large tubular-shaped pasta, are a nice size and shape for catching enough sauce for each bite. Garnish the pasta with chopped fresh Italian parsley.

Italian Sausage Meatball Rigatoni with Vodka-Tomato Sauce

1/2 cup fresh white bread crumbs
1/2 cup milk
3/4 lb. bulk mild Italian sausage
3/4 lb. ground beef (85% lean)
1 medium onion, coarsely grated
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper, divided
12 oz. rigatoni
1/4 cup butter
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2/3 cup vodka or chicken broth
1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
3/4 cup whipping cream
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1. Heat oven to 425°F. Combine bread crumbs and milk in large bowl; let stand 5 minutes. Mix in sausage, ground beef, onion, 1/2 cup of the cheese, parsley, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and 1/4 teaspoon of the crushed red pepper until well-blended. Shape into 24 (1 3/4-inch) balls. Place on rimmed baking sheet. Bake 10 to 15 minutes or until cooked through and no longer pink in center. Cover loosely with foil.

2. Cook rigatoni in large pot of boiling salted water according to package directions; drain.

3. Meanwhile, melt butter in medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook garlic 30 seconds or until fragrant. Stir in vodka; reduce until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, cream, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper and black pepper; bring to a boil. Simmer 5 minutes. Spoon sauce over rigatoni; sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Top with meatballs.

6 (1 3/4-cup) servings

PER SERVING: 775 calories, 41 g total fat (20.5 g saturated fat), 36 g protein, 58 g carbohydrate, 125 mg cholesterol, 1590 mg sodium, 4 g fiber

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