Baked Rigatoni

My neighbors just welcomed a new baby boy into their home. Poor thing, shes been having serious back issues so the other day I walked over and brought some dinner for them. I decided to make a pan of baked rigatoni, because lets be honest there aren’t many things as comforting as a pan of baked pasta, are there? It takes less time than making a lasagne, without any sacrifice of flavor. I made this version meatless with 3 different cheese, mozzarella, ricotta with spinach and grated romano cheese, I’ve also made a meat version many many times in my life adding tiny meatballs between the layers, a big hit for a party because it all can be put together a day ahead of time and then heated right before serving. A big pan of baked rigatoni would also be a great addition to your Easter dinner, because you always need to have a little pasta, no?

I love the large ridged rigatoni it holds the sauce perfectly and visually it looks so good. The box says to cook the pasta for 14 minutes but you’ll want to under cook it since it will be baking in the oven. I cooked the one pound box for 10 minutes then drained the water and tossed the rigatoni into a bowl and gave it a quick drizzle of olive oil with a couple of ladles of marinara. Be sure to have enough marinara made because you don’t want the pasta to dry out in the baking process. If you’re buying your marinara in a jar I would buy two, but please try and make your own if you don’t normally do so, it’s such a difference!

I make my marinara very quickly using 6-8 cloves of chopped garlic sauteed in about 1/4 cup of olive oil, sometimes I add a small onion, sometimes I don’t, to that I add two 28oz cans of San Marzano whole tomatoes that have been squished beforehand, and my favorite ingredient of all time, fresh basil, lots of it! Let it simmer for 20 minutes or so.

I buttered the inside of a 13 x 9 disposable pan, ( since I was giving this dish away) spread homemade marinara sauce on the bottom and then 1/3 of the rigatoni, then with a make shift piping bag I added dollops of ricotta all around the layer of pasta as well as good sprinkling of shredded mozzarella, next added the grated romano cheese all over. Repeat 2 more times starting all over with the sauce again.

The ricotta mixture was made by folding a good handful of chopped spinach (squeezed and drained of all liquid) into a pound of fresh ricotta along with one egg, a healthy dose of grated cheese, salt and pepper.

I like to keep my baked rigatoni a little lighter by not covering the top with a layer of mozzarella, I think there’s plenty inside, but that’s just my preference.

Ready for the oven, lay a piece of foil on top and bake around 25 minutes at 360F, last 15 minutes remove the foil.

I found this bottle of wine, Rigatoni Red, I sure hope it was good because I strictly bought it for the label which I just loved, it was the perfect compliment to my dish don’t you think?

Have a great weekend, and Buon appetito!
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Comments

  1. I don’t want a baby, but I would be happy if you brought over a bottle of Rigatoni with some baked Rig to go with it!

  2. Looks fabulous to me! Whenever a coworker has a baby, or has surgery or whatever, I almost always send them pasta. LOVE the wine! I need one of those for my rack!

  3. Rigatoni Red huh? I prefer the Meatball di Montalcino, but, hey, that’s just me. Happy weekend!

  4. What a great neighbor you are. There’s a new mother I’ve been meaning to make dinner for too, and I think you’ve helped me figure out what to make. LOVE the complementary wine bottle and wish I could find it here.

  5. Lucky girl to have you for a neighbor, Marie! You’re so right…there really is nothing like a big pan of baked rigatoni, and this one looks absolutely delectable. Buon Appetito, indeed!

  6. I used to make baked ziti for new moms and then extra sauce so they could throw in spaghetti (provided) for another easy meal. The rigatoni is a grand idea – the large opening must just suck in those tiny meatballs and lovely sauce. LOVE the idea of rigatoni red. Wish you were my neighbor…. back in the day.

  7. Mmmmm love rigatoni. I just posted a recipe for cheesy sausage and spinach pasta….oh yum-o!!

  8. Hi Marie, missed you – funny coincidence,my neighbors just had a baby girl – so guess what I will bring them when I visit during the week? :-) xo,

  9. This is one of those comfort foods that I am sure your neighbours appreciated!!!

  10. What a lovely thing to do for a new mum. And, yes, I would have chosen that bottle too.

  11. Ah…comfort food at its best! When time permits for me to plan ahead, I make a version of this with a Bolognese and bechamel sauce. Then I put them in foil pans and freeze them to pull our for such “emergencies.”
    Your version looks fabulous…just like everything else you do. You have very lucky neighbors.

  12. Oh, and I hope you got to hold that baby!! :)

  13. its really hard to look at that photo right now. i ate dinner really early and am now famished, plus the fact that i haven’t had carbs in months. wahhhh

  14. Reminds me of my childhood mmmmm

  15. That looks delicious. Baked pastas are always so comforting.

  16. One of my fave dishes. How thoughtful of you! One lucky new Mom!

  17. You are so sweet and thoughtful, Marie – I wish you were my neighbor! Baked rigatoni is my go-to meal, too, for giveaways or quick party fare. I love how you added the spinach to it. I could eat a big bowl right now – your photos are so enticing!

  18. I, too, am a proud Italian (although half proud Irish, too). Thanks for this and other recipes! Our blog is of many different topics – including food. So, every now and then I enjoy seeing what others are posting… thanks for blogging about such wonderful food! http://thought2form.blogspot.com/

  19. This is a perfect gift for a new mother, Marie! My daughter-in-law was gifted with quite a few prepared meals after she had our second grandson last month and they were all very much appreciated!

    Buona Pasqua to you and your family!

  20. Hi Marie – lucky neighbors! Looks comforting and delicious! Love the wine label :)

    Finally getting some sun today in Chi-town! YAY!
    Wishing you a wonderful Easter.
    LL

  21. Rigatoni red? Look really fun. How is the producer. Can you send me more details about the bottle

    http://kitchenvoyage.blogspot.com

  22. Here here on the fresh basil. It’s what sets the sauce apart from all others. Did you know you can freeze the leaves. Pack in small bags and pop into the freezer. Next time you are making sauce, just take out what you need from the freezer bag, crush in your hands and add to the pot. Tastes just like fresh – really!

  23. Marie, you are the perfect neighbor! They are lucky to have you. What a great pasta dish.

  24. You are one fine neighbor and I would be proud to live near you as long as I don’t have to have a baby to get that yummy baked rigatoni.

    Hope you and your family have a lovely Easter weekend and the weather is good.
    Sam

  25. How perfect is that bottle of wine. I wish you were my neighbor!

  26. I loved baked pasta in all it’s forms! Have a wonderful Easter. God Bless.

  27. What a lovely gesture! I think your neighbors will be thrilled.

  28. Anonymous says:

    HI, THE RIGATONI RED IS A BLEND OF GRAPES FROM A GREAT REGION IN PUGLIA ITALY. THE VINEYARD OWNERS VISITED MY RESTAURANT IN 2007 AND INTRODUCED IT TO MY STAFF WHICH LOVED IT AS A TABLE WINE. SO THEY BOUGHT 20 CASES WHICH THEY DISPLAYED. IT COMPLIMENTED MOST RED SAUCES AND WASNT ALL THAT OVERBEARING WITH FISH OR WHITE SAUCES. HOPE YOU ENJOYED IT. FOR THE PRICE IT IS PRETTY ENJOYABLE. OH, BTW, THE NAME OF MY RESTAURANT IN N.Y WAS THE ORIGINAL “RIGATONI RESTAURANT AND BAR” IN LONG ISLAND N.Y. sOLD IN 2008 AND UNFORTUNATELY THE NEW OWNERS WENT OUT OF BUSINESS AFTER 5 MONTHS. I’M GLAD MY CHECK CLEARED!! TAKE CARE.

  29. This was delicious! Made a big pan for dinner tonight. Two of my children ate it and asked for seconds. If you knew my children, you would know what a HUGE deal that is! They eat nothing except peanut butter. So glad I found you!

  30. Hi!
    I’m new to cooking by instincts and still learning how to cook without a cookbook. Your meals looks amazing and I would love to make it. Specifically how much of each cheese do you use? Do you have a recipe available for this meal that lists the ingredients and then the steps? I’m afraid I won’t do this recipe justice…I’ve never made my own marianara before…

    Thank you!
    Katie

    • Katie, don’t be afraid to make your own sauce it’s really easy and I have the instructions in the post. As for the cheese I used 1 lb of ricotta into that I added 1 cup of grated romano, or you could use parmesan, plus extra to sprinkle in between the layers, also I used 1 lb of shredded mozzarella and I used 1 lb of rigatoni.
      Hope this helps. Marie

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