If you love a rich, cheesy pasta dish for dinner, these rigatoni pasta recipes are exactly what you need to make a comfort food dinner! We have rounded up over 20 of the best rigatoni dinner ideas. Whether you are looking for a pasta bake for the oven, an Instant Pot recipe, or a one-pot meal to make on the stove top, there is sure to be something here to add to your weekly menu!
Pasta dishes are comfort foods, and rigatoni is no exception. They come in all shapes and sizes, but all fulfill that need for warm pasta covered in a rich tomato pasta sauce and baked.
It’s an easy weeknight dinner that can be pulled together quickly. So you can have dinner on the table in only a few steps.
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What’s A Rigatoni Bake?
Rigatoni dishes all have a general concept that can be changed and recreated to make something new and fun.
Traditional baked rigatoni recipes are made by boiling pasta on medium-high heat until it is al dente. Then, move the drained pasta to a separate bowl. Next, add olive oil to a hot pan and cook the Italian sausage, ground beef, or vegetables. Add spices like salt and pepper.
Pour the tomato sauce, meat sauce, or marinara sauce into the meat or vegetables and add the pasta. Put the entire mixture into a baking dish and top with mozzarella or parmesan cheese. Bake it in the oven until the cheese is golden and bubbly.
Carefully transfer the baked rigatoni to a rack and let cool for at least 10 minutes before digging in.
Different Types of Rigatoni Dishes
Rigatoni pasta recipes range all over with creative ideas in every food group. You can cook rigatoni in many different ways. These recipes are so much fun because they show all the ways to make this delicious dish.
Some examples of what you’ll find are meatless dishes, made in an instant pot, with sausage, and with chicken. Also with added vegetables, bacon, beef, fish, and so much more.
Why Rigatoni Recipes Are Easy to Make
Most rigatoni recipes are so easy to make because they only require a few ingredients. There are minimal dishes and sometimes just one, especially if you’re using an Instant pot.
There are all kinds of pasta shapes you can use if you don’t have the exact noodle you want on hand. Here are some options:
Pasta: You can change the pasta to any medium-sized pasta you’d like. Some examples are penne, campanelle, shells, orecchiette, or farfalle. You can even cut the pasta out altogether and use zucchini noodles or gluten-free noodles.
Vegetables: Classic rigatoni doesn’t include vegetables, but you can add them! Some options are mushrooms, zucchini, basil, eggplant, spinach, broccoli, or bell peppers.
Meat: Most baked rigatoni recipes are with Italian sausage. Some other ideas are ground beef, bacon, sausage links, chicken (shredded, cubed, ground), pork (shredded or cubed). If meat isn’t your thing, you can cut it out altogether and add extra vegetables.
Cooking method: While baking is the most common way of cooking rigatoni, you can also make it in the instant pot or slow cooker.
20+ Delicious Rigatoni Pasta Recipes
Rigatoni Dinner Ideas with Sausage
Rigatoni Recipes with Beef
Fish and Seafood
Meatless Baked Rigatoni Recipes
Freezing and Reheating Pasta Casseroles
Freeze pasta casserole leftovers easily with these directions (adapted from Allrecipes article on freezing and reheating):
- Once the rigatoni casserole has cooled, portion it into meal-sized containers or packages.
- Label and date the containers.
- Place them in a single layer in the coldest area of your freezer until completely frozen.
- I recommend reusing it within 3 months.
To reheat the rigatoni pasta recipe, let the frozen dish thaw in the refrigerator overnight. The next day, cover it with foil and reheat in the oven at 350º for about 20-30 minutes or until the center of it reaches 165ºF.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is rigatoni pasta used for? Rigatoni is a tube-shaped pasta with ridges on the outside. These ridges help the sauce stick to the rigatoni. This makes them ideal for rich, thicker sauces like creamy dairy-based and chunky tomato sauces.
Bring 4 – 6 quarts of water to a rolling boil, and add a tablespoon of salt.
Add the pasta to the boiling water. For al dente pasta, boil uncovered, stirring occasionally for 12 minutes. Remove from heat and add to your favorite sauce.
The only way to know if it’s done is to taste the pasta! It should be al dente or firm to the bite.