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Someone scooping some baked rigatoni out of a casserole dish.

Cheesy Baked Rigatoni

  • Author: Erin Jensen
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: Approx. 8 servings
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: Italian-Inspired


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
  • 23 cups grated mozzarella cheese
  • (optional) 1 zucchini, diced and 1-2 handfuls chopped spinach


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 
  2. 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).
  3. Drain and drizzle with a little olive oil and toss; set aside.
  4. Meanwhile, bring a large cast iron skillet to medium-high heat; add ground beef and move around pan until fully cooked. Drain excess grease.
  5. Add garlic and onion, move around until the onion has cooked down. Season with a little kosher salt and ground black pepper.
  6. Add in marinara sauce, basil, red wine and salt. Stir to combine. Taste and add additional salt, as desired. 
  7. (optional) add in 1 small zucchini (diced) and a handful or two of chopped spinach. Stir to combine. 
  8. Place pasta in prepared pan.  
  9. Pour pasta sauce over the pasta; stir to combine. 
  10. Cover with mozzarella and parmesan cheese. 
  11. Spray one side of a piece of foil with olive oil and place oil-side down over the pan.
  12. Bake for 20-25 minutes covered. Uncover and bake an additional 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly. 
  13. 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