Baked Rigatoni with Three Cheeses is pure comfort food that fills the belly and the soul. Homemade tomato sauce mixed with ridged rigatoni pasta, layered with a combination of ricotta and Parmesan cheese, followed by mozzarella, then topped with Parmesan. Perfect for dinner, cookouts, and family events. Mangia!
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Baked Rigatoni with Three Cheeses

Baked Rigatoni with Three Cheeses is pure comfort food that fills the belly and the soul. Homemade tomato sauce mixed with ridged rigatoni pasta, layered with a combination of ricotta and Parmesan cheese, followed by mozzarella, then topped with Parmesan. Perfect for dinner, cookouts, and family events. Mangia!
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 10 -12 servings
Author Natalie

Ingredients

  • 1 pound rigatoni pasta

Sauce:

  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion diced
  • 6 - 8 cloves garlic chopped
  • 2 28 Oz. cans of ground peeled tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 teaspoons granulated garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • a handful of fresh basil leaves

Ricotta mixture:

  • 1 pound whole milk ricotta
  • ¼ cup milk
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan or Romano
  • 1 large egg
  • Kosher salt
  • pepper
  • 1 pound shredded mozzarella
  • 1 cup of additional grated Romano or Parmesan cheese for layering and topping

Instructions

Make sauce:

  • In a large skillet over medium heat, sauté the onions in the olive oil for about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for a minute or two being careful not to brown. Stir in the salt, garlic powder, sugar, and pepper. Slowly add in the tomatoes. Cook for about ten minutes stirring occasionally. Tear up the basil leaves and add to sauce.
  • Stir and simmer for another ten minutes.
  • Meanwhile, boil pasta for half the time it states on the box. Drain, then toss with 2 ladles (1 cup) of sauce.
  • Preheat oven 350 degrees.

Make the ricotta mixture:

  • In a bowl, combine the ricotta, milk, grated cheese, and egg. Season with a sprinkle of kosher salt and some pepper to taste. Note if using Romano, it is saltier than Parmesan. I do taste this before and after adding salt and adjust from there.

To assemble:

  • - You need a 9x13 deep (3") pan for this dish. It gets filled to the top.
  • Ladle about 1 cup of sauce in deep 9x13 pan or deep 9x13 foil pan to just coat bottom then add ⅓ of rigatoni. The pasta won't cover the entire bottom and that's ok.
  • Ladle sauce to cover pasta. Scatter the top with dollops of ricotta over the top. If you like, you can spread lightly across pasta. Sprinkle with 1 cup of the mozzarella then sprinkle with some grated cheese. Repeat two more times ending with mozzarella and grated cheese over the top.
  • Place a piece of wax or parchment on top then cover and seal with foil. The wax/parchment will prevent the cheese from sticking to the foil. To be safe, you may want to place the pan on a foiled lined baking sheet to catch any drippings. It depends on the depth of your baking dish or casserole pan.
  • Bake for 30 minutes. Carefully remove foil and paper and cook for another 15 minutes.
  • Serve and Mangia!