Baked Rigatoni

Amazingly Delicious Baked Rigatoni

Baked Rigatoni is the perfect recipe for a weeknight meal. Rigatoni entered my life this week because it was on sale for $0.79 per pound at my local grocery store. You see, I’m not loyal to a particular shape of pasta. I’m loyal to the cheapest price. Having purchased the rigatoni, I needed to find a new recipe, so this Amazingly Delicious Baked Rigatoni Recipe was born.

Baked rigatoni is very simple to prepare, and by the time your pasta is cooked, it’s a simple matter to have the meat sauce prepared, so it’s all ready to go into the oven after about thirty minutes of hands on time. That’s not too much time for something that tastes this good. Did I mention that this recipe is amazingly delicious?

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I have a confession to make about this post. I completely forgot to take photos, but this recipe was too good to not publish immediately , so I downloaded some free pictures from Pixabay. This means that the finished product won’t look like the photo above. It will look better, and it will taste amazing. I promise that when I can remake this recipe, I will update the pictures with actual photos of the finished recipe. I am madly in love with Baked Rigatoni, and I want to make it often, but my oven is acting up, so it may be some time before I can actually make that happen. Maybe I can offer to make it for a friend, using their oven. Then, I can take the photos before I serve them, or would that be weird?

Baked Rigatoni

What will you need to prepare this recipe?

From the Pantry

  • Rigatoni
  • Pasta Sauce
  • Tomato Sauce

From the Refrigerator/Freezer

  • Red Bell Pepper
  • Italian Sausage
  • Mozzarella Cheese
  • Parmesan Cheese

From the Root Cellar

  • Brown on Yellow Onion

The ingredient list isn’t very long, but this dish is loaded with flavor. In fact, it’s become one of our family favorites, especially during cooler weather when we love to bake things in the oven.

What is the process for preparing baked rigatoni?

A bowl filled with uncooked rigatoni noodles

1. Put salted water on the stove to boil to cook the rigatoni.

While you’re waiting for the water to come to a boil, you can begin on the sauce and other ingredients. Just make sure to set a timer if you drop the pasta into the boiling water before the sauce is finished. Overcooked pasta is mushy and won’t taste good in this dish. You want the pasta to be cooked al dente because it will cook longer with the sauce in the oven.

A basket of brown (or yellow) onions.  An onion in the forefront has been cut in half from stem to root exposing the white flesh and layers of the onion.

2. Chop the bell pepper and onions and grate the cheese.

I like to dice the onions and pepper into fairly small pieces to distribute their flavor throughout the sauce and the final Baked Rigatoni. It also helps slip the vegetables past any children who might be reluctant to eat them. Sometimes, I buy my cheese already shredded, but other times, I shred it myself. The motivating factor is the price of the cheese.

A picture of a red bell pepper being chopped on a cutting board.  The cutting process is just beginning as the pepper still has the stem on it.  In the background is a smaller red pepper and a bowl of fresh tomatoes still on the vine.

3. Cook the Peppers and Onions with the Meat.

This may seem obvious, but not everyone does this. By cooking these aromatic vegetables with the sausage, you help to improve the overall flavor of the recipe.

A close up of fresh, raw, ground beef still in it's package, the lines of ground meat are clearly visible.

4. Put the pasta in the boiling, salted, water and set a timer.

Like I mentioned before, it’s easy to get caught up in the cooking process and forget that you need to watch your pasta. I despise mushy pasta, so it’s really important to set a timer for this. You don’t want overcooked pasta.

5. Build you Sauce.

Since the pasta is cooking, now’s the time to add the tomato sauce, pasta sauce, and water to the meat and vegetable mixture. Bring it to a boil, lower the heat, and allow it to simmer for at least five minutes.

6. Build the layers of the Baked Rigatoni in a 9X13 inch pan.

I realize that the instructions in the recipe might sound backwards because I have you put down cheese and then top it with sauce, but I promise you that this helps to make the sauce extra cheesy and is part of the delicious charm of this recipe. If you absolutely can’t fathom cheese under the sauce, go ahead and do it the other way, but it tastes so much better this way.

7. Bake the Rigatoni and let it rest before serving.

You’ll know when this dish is done when it’s bubbly around the edges. How crispy you like your noodles will determine how long you allow it to bake. One thing that’s important is that you absolutely have to allow this dish to rest at room temperature for about 10 minutes before digging into it to allow it to firm up a bit.

Baked Rigatoni

That’s all it takes to put a delicious Baked rigatoni on your dinner table. Do you have a favorite pasta dish, or a favorite type of noodle? I have really fallen in love with rigatoni lately. It’s true that the low price is how we became acquainted, but the texture and versatility are making it fast become a favorite. Let us know your favorites by leaving a comment below.

Thanks for visiting Patty Cake’s Pantry.

Baked Rigatoni

This is a simple and delicious baked pasta dish that's perfect for a family meal or to serve to company. The recipe is made from simple to find ingredients and has become a family favorite. The total cost for this meal is
Prep Time 29 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Resting Time 10 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Italian
Servings 8


  • 1 pound Dry Rigatoni Noodles cooked according to package directions ($0.99)
  • 1 pound Italian Sausage hot or mild according to your preference ($2.99)
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper diced ($0.78)
  • 1 Medium Onion (Yellow or Brown) ($0.20)
  • 1 (24 ounce) jar or can Pasta Sauce ($1.59)
  • 1 (8 ounce) can Tomato Sauce ($0.34)
  • 2 cup Water
  • 2 cups Shredded Mozzarella Cheese ($1.99)
  • 1 cup Shredded Parmesan Cheese ($0.89)


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
  • Put water on stove to boil for cooking the pasta.
  • Once the water is boiling, cook pasta according to the package directions.
  • While you're waiting for the water to come to a boil, cook the sausage with the onion and bell pepper until the meat is thoroughly cooked and lightly browned.
  • Once the sausage is cooked, add pasta sauce, water, and tomato sauce to the pan with the meat mixture and stir well to combine.
  • Bring to mixture to a boil and reduce heat.  Allow to simmer for 5 minutes
  • Place 1 cup pasta sauce in the bottom of a 9X13 inch pan.
  • Now, you will begin layering the baked rigatoni dish into the baking dish
  • Place one-half of the cooked rigatoni on top of the sauce.
  • Sprinkle one cup shredded Mozzarella and 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese evenly on top of the noodles.
  • Evenly distribute two cups of the meat and pasta sauce mixture on top of the cheese.
  • Spread the remaining pasta on top of the sauce.
  • Add the remaining cup of Mozzarella cheese evenly distributed on top of the pasta.
  • Finish the dish by carefully spreading the remaining meat sauce over the top of the cheese.
  • Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 – 45 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving.
Keyword bell pepper, brown or yellow onion, garlic, ground beef, Italian Sausage, mozzarella, parmesan cheese, pasta sauce, rigatoni, tomato sauce

The following nutrition label was calculated for one-eighth of the Baked Rigatoni prepared according to the recipe above.

Nutrition Label for Baked Rigatoni which has 537 calories per serving.

Disclaimer:  Nutritional information is calculated using online tools such as those available at or  We make every attempt to ensure that the information is calculated correctly, but this information should be considered estimates.   Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe.  In addition, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition-fact sources, databases, and the algorithms used.   You are solely responsible for ensuring that any nutritional information provided is accurate, complete, and useful.  Under no circumstances will be responsible for any loss or damage resulting for your reliance on nutritional information provided. 

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