Cheesy Baked Rigatoni – a classic baked pasta that is elevated to the next level with red-wine, fresh basil and so much flavor; topped with fresh mozzarella cheese.
Delicious Baked Rigatoni
Cheesy pasta, anyone? Is cheesy pasta ever not a good idea. It is a mixture of everything wonderful: pasta, sauce, cheese, more cheese, and even more cheese (feel free to use a dairy-free cheese!). It is all baked together, so every bite is a warm, cheese covered noodle with tomato sauce. Sounds amazing, right? Well it is – and you need it in your life.
Looking for easy weeknight dinners – try this Stuffed Shells with Meat – always a winner in our family!
Why This Recipe Works
- Childhood Favorite: this was something my Mom (and possibly your mom) made all the time while I was growing up – you might have had something similar!
- Simple ingredients: you might even already have everything you need in your pantry!
- Cheesy Goodness: you can definitely sub in a dairy-free alternative for the cheese here!
What You Will Need
- rigatoni noodles: these are cooked al dente (or even a little less than al dente) and will finish cooking in the oven. Feel free to use a gluten-free brand!
- garlic + onion + ground beef: these are sauteed together before combining them with the sauce.
- marinara sauce + fresh basil + red wine: I love using store-bought sauce because it simplified the process!
- kosher salt: make sure you taste the sauce after adding the first teaspoon and add more salt, as-needed.
- parmesan cheese + mozzarella cheese: so much delicious cheesy goodness!
- Optional: you can add in some spinach or zucchini to the mix as well for added veggies!
How to Make Baked Rigatoni
Spray a 9×13 pan with olive oil. Add in your rigatoni noodles (cooked al dente).
Cook your ground beef in a cast iron skillet along with some garlic and onion. Add in some marinara sauce and combine.
Pour your spaghetti sauce mixture over top. Stir to combine. Add mozzarella cheese on top.
Bake at 350 degrees F. covered for 20 minutes then uncovered for an additional 10 minutes.
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Cheesy Baked Rigatoni – a cheesy and delicious baked rigatoni that is perfect for those cold, cozy winter nights!
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic (2 large cloves)
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 32oz jar marinara sauce (I used Rao’s)*
- 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
- 1/4 cup dry red wine (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 12 oz rigatoni noodles
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 2–3 cups grated mozzarella cheese
- (optional) 1 zucchini, diced and 1-2 handfuls chopped spinach
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Cook rigatoni according to package instruction, but ensure the noodles are cooked al dente or even a little less (they will continue to cook a little in the oven).
- Drain and drizzle with a little olive oil and toss; set aside.
- Meanwhile, bring a large cast iron skillet to medium-high heat; add ground beef and move around pan until fully cooked. Drain excess grease.
- Add garlic and onion, move around until the onion has cooked down. Season with a little kosher salt and ground black pepper.
- Add in marinara sauce, basil, red wine and salt. Stir to combine. Taste and add additional salt, as desired.
- (optional) add in 1 small zucchini (diced) and a handful or two of chopped spinach. Stir to combine.
- Place pasta in prepared pan.
- Pour pasta sauce over the pasta; stir to combine.
- Cover with mozzarella and parmesan cheese.
- Spray one side of a piece of foil with olive oil and place oil-side down over the pan.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes covered. Uncover and bake an additional 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
- Serve immediately. Feel free to garnish with extra chopped basil.
- Marinara Sauce: if you can’t find a 32 oz jar you can simply use a 24oz jar + 8oz tomato sauce if you don’t want to open another jar of marinara. Just be extra generous with the fresh basil and kosher salt – taste as you go!
- Dairy-Free: feel free to make this with dairy-free cheese!
- Meat-Free: you can omit the ground beef altogether and just use the zucchini in its place.
- Italian Sausage: you could use Italian sausage instead of ground beef.
Keywords: baked rigatoni
Originally published March 20, 2017.