Sympathy Meals / Neopolitan Casserole
My husband, Tim, had a serious accident on his mountain bike two years ago. He was hospitalized for weeks and spent months in rehab. One of the things that got us through that challenging time was the support of our friends and family. They watched our kids, they got them to lessons and after-school activities, and they fed us. It’s hard to describe what a blessing and relief it was to come home from a long day at the hospital and find a delicious dinner waiting for us.
At the time, a good friend of ours set up a calendar to coordinate the meal deliveries, but since then websites have popped up that will organize it all for you. Two I’ve participated in are Meal Train and Take Them a Meal. The nice thing about these services is that they allow you to see what other people are bringing so you can add some variety, plus the person or family you’re supporting can list food allergies and preferences, what time they’d like the food to be dropped off, and anything else they’d like to share.
I made Grandma Campobasso’s Neopolitan casserole this week for a family in town who are going through a rough time. It’s my go-to “sympathy dinner,” but I’d love to hear what you like to make when your friends and family need support. If you have a link to a recipe, that would be fantastic!
1-1/2 pounds Italian sausage
1-1/2 pounds hamburger
12 ounces tomato paste
28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
2 12-ounce cans tomato sauce
1 TBSP. garlic powder
1 TBSP. basil
1 TBSP. oregano
1 pound mozzarella cheese, grated
1 pound box rigatoni
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cook the sausage and hamburger until brown, breaking up into small pieces. Drain.
Cook the pasta and drain.
While the meat and pasta are cooking, mix together all the other ingredients, except the cheese. Add the pasta to the sauce. (I like to mix in some of the cheese at this point.) Pour into a casserole and sprinkle cheese generously on top. Bake for about 45 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with a nice salad and enjoy!