a simple, cheesy baked rigatoni with butter roasted tomato sauce
1 ½ lbs tomatoes, quartered
1 pint cherry tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
¼ cup olive oil
freshly cracked black pepper
2 oregano sprigs
2 thyme sprigs
3 tbsp butter
¾ lb rigatoni
½ cup grated parmesan
4 oz shredded mozzarella
4 oz fresh mozzarella, drained and sliced ¼”
Preheat the oven to 375°F. In a 12” cast-iron skillet (or baking dish), add the tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, garlic, and olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Toss well. Arrange the oregano sprigs, thyme sprigs, and butter into the crevices. Bake for 1 hour.
After about 45 minutes, drop the rigatoni into a pot of boiling, salted water. Cook for 1 minute less than the package’s instructions.
Remove the tomatoes from the oven and discard the herbs. Transfer the entire mixture into a blender and blend until smooth. Wipe out the skillet and set aside.
Drain the rigatoni. Add the rigatoni and blended sauce back into the pot. Simmer for a minute, stirring often. Mix in the parmesan cheese and let melt.
Raise the oven to 450°F. Pour the rigatoni and sauce into the skillet. Top with the shredded and fresh mozzarella. Bake for 8 minutes. Broil on high for 1-2 more minutes until golden. Serve with more freshly cracked pepper over top (if desired).