Tag Archives: vegetarian

hearty baked rigatoni – or what to make when inspiration deserts you


I don’t post very many main dish recipes, mostly because it’s difficult to take good photos after dark and my family thinks I am weird when I try to take photos of my food. However, this space is also someplace that I have started to record my most used recipes, so in order to have it someplace accessible to myself I am adding this one dinner dish. The photo isn’t great, but then I am not really a food blogger.

I am a reluctant cook – by the time we are all home from school and work I am mostly used up, so I have a few easy fall-backs that I rely on when I am empty of creative ideas for dinner.  Everyone in our house enjoys this dinner and I like it because nobody whines when I make it (in fact they always have seconds).

This recipe is easily adaptable – I often throw in leftover cooked chicken, bacon pieces or chopped spinach. I also use the tomato sauce that I made in the summer and add in a few frozen tomatoes – I just run the frozen whole tomatoes under running water for a few moments and the skins slide off, then I let them thaw, chop them up and throw them in with the rest of the ingredients. The one constant in this recipe is the basil – I picked the last of my basil at the end of the summer and stored it in the freezer mainly to add to this dish. It’s just not as good without basil.

I’m not sure this has ever been made the same way twice, but the following is the basic recipe that I use as a starting point:

Easy Baked Rigatoni

  • 1 lb rigatoni (450 gms), cooked and drained
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 3 cups tomato sauce (or 1 jar of sauce)
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes, drained (or a few fresh or frozen tomatoes, chopped)
  • basil, chopped (to taste)
  • (optional) chopped spinach, leftover cooked chicken or cooked and chopped bacon

Preheat oven to 350F. Toss the hot pasta with the ricotta, parmesan, basil, half of the mozzarella, the chopped tomatoes and half of the sauce. Pour the remaining sauce on top and cover with the rest of the mozzarella.

Bake for 30 minutes or until heated through and cheese has melted and browned.

If I start this the moment I get home, I can usually have it ready by the time the dad gets home from work. Most of the assembly can be done in minutes – and I can spend the 30 minutes that it’s baking getting my kids to do their chores. Or trying.

Linked to Gastronomical Sovereignty, Wildcrafting Wednesday, A Pinch of Joy, Frugally Sustainable

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