It’s hard not to love a tasty combination of pasta, sausage, and yummy sauce! This winning Baked Rigatoni with Ricotta dish can either feed a crowd or provide delicious leftovers on a busy night (or when you just don’t feel like cooking).
My girls even took this one in their school lunches the next day. Oh, how I love easy crowd-pleasing dinners! Just add a salad or green veggie and dinner is done.
Variations of Baked Rigatoni with Ricotta
You can definitely make this recipe your own based on your preferences, which is the great thing about this pasta dish. Instead of the ground beef, you could substitute ground turkey. Another fun idea would be using chopped mushrooms as the main “meat” ingredient.
If you’re omitting the Italian sausage, I would add in some extra spices such as oregano, red pepper flakes, or Italian seasoning. And if you want extra veggies, spinach is always a good choice!
How to Make Baked Rigatoni
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Cook the whole-wheat rigatoni until al dente.
- Heat the olive oil and cook the onion until soft.
- Stir in the garlic, ground beef, and Italian sausage and cook until brown.
- Mix in the sauce, cheeses, basil, and noodles until well combined.
- Pour the ingredients into a baking dish and top with cheese.
- Bake uncovered for 45 to 60 minutes until golden brown, and serve warm.
- Whole-wheat rigatoni – Keep it real food approved with whole-wheat instead of refined pasta.
- Olive oil – I recommend finding an organic extra-virgin olive oil.
- Onion – Diced.
- Cloves Garlic – Peeled and Minced.
- Ground Beef – We recommend local, humanely raised meat or Butcher Box.
- Bulk Italian sausage – You can also use links with casings removed.
- Marinara sauce – Store-bought or use the Marinara Sauce recipe from my Fast & Fabulous Cookbook.
- Whole-milk ricotta – You can see what I look for in cheese and other dairy products here.
- Parmesan cheese – Freshly grated and divided.
- Basil – Fresh and chopped.
- Mozzarella – I recommend getting a block and shredding it yourself.
How to Store, Reheat, and Freeze
Besides being delicious, I love that this recipe can be assembled ahead of time, which is especially helpful on those busy weekdays. If you freeze the casserole, do it before baking and thaw it in the fridge overnight before putting it in the oven. You will also need to increase the cooking time since it’ll be cold out of the fridge.
You can also freeze the cooked leftovers for later, too!