Cheesy baked rigatoni with ground beef is made with Italian spices and a creamy ricotta filling. It’s a great baked rigatoni dish for pasta night. Here you’ll learn how to brown the ground beef, whip together the ricotta filling, and bake it in a 9x9 casserole dish. Let’s go bake pasta in the oven!
1 1/4cupPasta sauce(or add Italian spices to a can of crushed tomatoes - see video) divided
Heat a large pot of water on the stove to medium-high and boil pasta as directed until cooked al dente. While boiling, start cooking the ground beef filling. Do not overcook the pasta since it will finish cooking in the oven. Once finished, drain pasta and toss it in olive oil to prevent pasta from sticking.
Heat a large skillet on the stove to medium-high. Add olive oil and let it heat until the oil is hot and shiny. Add the ground beef, onion, red pepper, garlic, salt, pepper, parsley, and oregano. Brown beef and vegetable mixture for about 10 minutes, breaking down beef as it cooks and stirring regularly until beef is thoroughly cooked and onions are translucent. Once done, remove from heat and strain on a plate lined with a paper towel to remove excess grease.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and set out a 9x13 baking dish. Mix together the filling for the stuffing. In a large bowl, gently combine the cooked beef mixture, ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, and 1 cup of pasta sauce. Fill the baking dish with pasta (about 3/4 of the way full). Add filling ingredients and toss to combine. Top with 1/4 cup pasta sauce and a layer of mozzarella cheese.
Bake pasta for about 20 minutes until the cheese on top is melted. Let cool for at least 10 minutes before serving. Cover with tin foil if waiting to serve longer to keep it warm.
Doubling the recipe. If I’m cooking for a crowd, I’ll make one large batch in a very large baking dish.
Freezing this baked rigatoni pasta dish. If I’m making this ahead for two nights, I’ll make it in two 9x9” baking dishes. One we will cook and eat within a day. The other is frozen and will be moved to the fridge to thaw the night before baking it.
Reheating baked pasta. When cooking straight from the refrigerator, the dish will be colder. Add 5-10 minutes to the bake time until the cheese on top melts completely.