Simple Baked Rigatoni

Simple Baked Rigatoni
Photo: Sang An

Consider this your master recipe for baked rigatoni, one of the ultimate Italian-American comfort foods. Start by making your own marinara sauce using whole canned tomatoes, tomato paste, onion, and herbs. Mix it with cooked pasta, ricotta and mozzarella cheese, and bake until bubbling. It's a warm and hearty treat that the whole family will love.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 small onion, finely chopped

  • 2 cloves large garlic, finely chopped

  • 1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste

  • 2 cans (28 ounces each) sunpeeled crushed tomatoes in puree

  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano

  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red-pepper flakes

  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

  • 1 pound rigatoni

  • 1 ½ pounds whole-milk ricotta cheese

  • 1 pound fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into small cubes


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat until hot. Add onion; cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 4 minutes. Stir in garlic; cook 1 minute. Stir in tomato paste; cook 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, oregano, and red-pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat; simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly reduced, about 15 minutes.

  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil; add 1 tablespoon salt. Add rigatoni; cook until just al dente. Drain; rinse under cold water. Stir together ricotta and half of mozzarella in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Spread 1 cup tomato sauce on bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Add half of rigatoni; spread into an even layer. Top with 1 cup sauce and the ricotta mixture, spreading with a rubber spatula to cover. Top with remaining rigatoni and 1 1/2 cups sauce. Sprinkle remaining mozzarella on top to cover. Bake until sauce is bubbling and cheese has melted, 35 to 40 minutes.

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