Baked Rigatoni Recipe

Here’s a delicious dinner dish for your Meatless Monday. This Baked Rigatoni is a great Winter dish to serve any night of the week and is here to win over your stomach. Baked pasta dishes have been my go-to meals lately. Here in Los Angeles, we have been having some pretty cold weather and I have been needing more than just soup to keep me warm. I have been making this dish A LOT so thankfully, it is easy to prepare. 

If you are a meat lover and that is something you want in this dish, then Italian sausage would work perfectly as would ground beef or ground turkey. As much as I love meat, I decided to make this without meat and I did not miss it at all. The seasoning and flavor in this dish make up for the lack of meat.

Baked Rigatoni Recipe

3 from 35 votes
Recipe by Madison Course: DinnerDifficulty: Easy
Servings

8

servings
Prep time

10

minutes
Cooking time

25

minutes

An easy and delicious meatless meal.

iNGREDIENTS

  • For the pasta sauce
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 small onion, diced

  • 12 ounces tomato paste

  • (1) 29 ounce can

  • 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning

  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder

  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)

  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • For Assembly
  • 2 cups cooked rigatoni

  • 1 cup low-moisture mozzarella cheese, shredded

  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning (for topping)

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Spray a 9×13 inch pan with cooking spray. Place cooked pasta in pan.
  • Next, in a large sauce pan over medium-high heat, sauté onion until translucent (about 2-3 minutes).
  • Add the tomato paste, tomato sauce, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, crushed red pepper, brown sugar, salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Turn heat down to medium and cook for 10 minutes.
  • Pour sauce on top of cooked pasta and mix well. (It will look like a lot of sauce for the pasta, but it will cook in as it bakes.)
  • Top with mozzarella cheese and Italian seasoning and bake uncovered for 20 minutes. Broil for the last 5 minutes. (The pasta is in the oven for 25 minutes total.)
  • Remove from oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Notes

  • You may use jar sauce if you do not want to make your own sauce from scratch.
  • Any protein you like can be cooked and added to this recipe.
  • If baking after freezing, either thaw it and bake on 350°F for 25 minutes OR bake frozen on 350°F for 1 hour.
  • For this recipe, a serving size is 2 oz.

What really gives this meal its personality is the pasta sauce. I can smell all the ingredients as the sauce simmers and once a taste of that sauce hits my tongue, I am hooked! Every ingredient works together in perfect harmony to create this masterpiece of a dish. After whipping up the sauce the “hardest” part is now over and it is time to move to assembly.

Seasonings in sauce before being combined.
Sauce after simmering and thickening.

Let’s get into this YUMMY cheese. It is important to use a low-moisture cheese since it melts so well. The goal here, is to have a nice enough layer of cheese so that it can melt when it bakes, and then brown nicely when it broils. I like adding extra around the edges of the pan so I can get the cheese to form into a crust-like texture. This is great for an added crunch to a soft-textured meal. Top it with some Italian seasoning and it is ready to be baked.

Unbaked rigatoni fully assembled and ready to go into the oven

Another reason I like making this dish is because it freezes extremely well. This Baked Rigatoni can last in the freezer for up to 2 months. Whenever I make this, I make at least 2 pans and have one for the week and one frozen for a later time. The leftovers are good too because the flavors get time to settle into each other for longer. It is almost like they marinate the pasta.

For serving, I like to serve this dish with garlic bread or plain french bread, a garden salad and a glass of red wine. This meal is certainly family approved. If you have a busy week, or just do not feel like cooking for the rest of the week, it is a great meal option. I’m hoping this recipe is hassle-free for you and makes your meal planning easier.

Happy Eating!

-Madison

2 thoughts on “Baked Rigatoni Recipe”

  1. Recipe says eight servings. There must be some error. The recipe says two cups of cooked pasta. That doesnt feed eight people, also doesnt even cover the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish. Recipe also says one can of tomato sauce. What size can? Poorly written recipe.

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