This easy baked Rigatoni Pasta is made with a homemade tomato-based meat sauce and tons of mozzarella cheese!
This easy rigatoni recipe is great to prepare ahead for busy nights throughout the week – simply refrigerate this Rigatoni Pasta bake until you’re ready to cook and serve! Serve it with a Classic Wedge Salad and some 30 Minute Dinner Rolls with Homemade Garlic Butter and you’re all set for dinner!
I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love pasta.
It’s easy to prepare, it’s hearty, it’s comforting and it can even be relatively healthy! When the cooler weather hits, this is my favorite of the Rigatoni Pasta recipes that warm me back up from the inside out.
There is just nothing that brings people together more than cheesy pasta! I know I definitely don’t have a hard time getting everyone to the table when the best rigatoni recipe is on it ;)
I wanted to keep this baked rigatoni recipe as simple as possible, but if you’d like to round out the meal, feel free to add in some extra veggies to the sauce: mushrooms, peppers, and zucchini would work perfectly!
What is Rigatoni Pasta?
Rigatoni noodles are short, tubular pasta that is widely available. It’s larger than penne pasta, and not cut on a diagonal.
The shape and large size of rigatoni noodles make them the perfect vehicle for a chunky, meaty sauce like this one! It holds so much flavor in every bite.
Tips for making this Rigatoni Pasta:
- Don’t have Rigatoni pasta? Totally fine! Any type of pasta will work in this recipe, but I recommend something on the larger end, and something that will be able to grab that thick and hearty sauce.
- Want to spice it up? Swap out Italian sausage for the ground beef to turn this into a sausage rigatoni recipe, or add in some crushed red chili peppers while you’re cooking the sauce for a blast of heat.
- To freeze this baked Rigatoni Pasta, cover first in plastic wrap, then in tin foil and label with the name and date. Place in the freezer for up to 3 months. To bake, simply place in the oven at 350 degrees F, covered only with foil, and bake until heated through (this can take 60 to 90 minutes, but you will need to keep an eye on it to be sure). If your baking dish is not freezer-to-oven safe, leave the dish out on the counter for at least 1-2 hours before placing in the oven.
- To make ahead: you can simply cover in plastic wrap or foil, then refrigerate up to 3 days before baking and serving. It’s perfect for your weekend meal prep, meaning you can make Tuesdays (or Wednesdays or Saturdays) dinner when you have time. (*Tip: if making ahead, pour 1/2 cup water over the pasta, then cover and bake. As it sits, the pasta soaks up the moisture and this prevents it from becoming drier in the oven.)
More Baked Pasta Dishes You’ll Love
- Baked Spaghetti
- Pizza Pasta Bake
- Classic Stuffed Shells Recipe
- Taco Stuffed Pasta Shells
- Baked Lemon Butter Salmon Pasta
- 1 lb lean ground beef
- 1 medium onion diced
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 5 cups tomato pasta sauce about 2 jars
- 1 lb Rigatoni pasta about 500 g
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
In a large saucepan, crumble and cook ground beef and onion over medium heat until browned and onions have softened. Drain any juices.
Add Italian seasoning, garlic, salt and pepper and cook 1 minute.
Add the pasta sauce and cook, stirring occasionally, over medium heat, for 5 minutes. Set aside.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil over high heat. Add rigatoni, reduce heat to medium-high, and cook just until al dente (it will continue to cook in the oven).
Reserve 1/2 cup pasta water and drain. Stir pasta water into meat sauce.
Combine pasta and pasta sauce in saucepan. Pour into a lightly greased 9x13" or similar baking dish.
Cover with a lightly greased piece of foil and bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes or until heated through.
Optionally, cover and refrigerate up to 2 days. Bake at 350 degrees F until heated through, about 30-40 minutes.
Uncover and sprinkle with cheese. Bake an additional 10 minutes, until cheese has started to brown.
(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.)