How to Make Rigatoni

Three Parts:Making a Meat SaucePreparing the NoodlesFinishing Your Rigatoni

Rigatoni is a kind of long, ribbed pasta noodle that is tube shaped.[1] But when people talk about making rigatoni, they usually mean the baked noodle dish made with meat and cheese. If you've had this mouth watering meal and want to try cooking it up at home, or if you simply want a delicious pasta treat, baked rigatoni is an easy recipe that will serve many.


  • 1 lb ( .45 kg) of sausage (mild)
  • 2 cups of rigatoni noodles
  • 1 jar of pasta sauce
  • 2 cups of grated provolone cheese
  • 2 cups of grated mozzarella cheese
  • Olive oil

Part 1
Making a Meat Sauce

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    Brown the sausage in a saucepan. First, you'll want to coat your saucepan with a thin layer of olive oil to prevent your sausage from sticking to the pan. After greasing your pan with oil, turn your stove top to a medium heat and add the sausage. Depending on the kind of sausage you've bought, you may need to cut your sausage into slices first. Cook the sausage until the meat is browned.
    • The time it takes to cook your sausage will depend on the kind of heat you are using (gas or electric), the heat setting you have the burner turned to, and the thickness of your sausage. Generally, it will take you 5 - 7 minutes before the sausage is cooked.
    • Ground beef can be used in place of sausage. For a healthy helping of meat with your noodles, use 1 lb ( .45 kg) of ground round and prepare it in the same fashion as the sausage.[2]
    • You may want to add vegetables, like onions or green peppers, to your rigatoni to make a healthier meal. These can generally be added and cooked in the olive oil before the meat is added. Cook on a medium heat for about 5 minutes. When your vegetables are lightly browned, add your meat.[3]
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    Drain the grease from your meat. While the meat is cooking, you should notice grease form in the bottom of your pan. This is a byproduct of cooking your meat and is completely normal. You should, however, drain your grease from it to prevent your rigatoni from becoming too greasy.
    • Since grease can build up in your pipes and create blockages, you shouldn't pour your grease down your sink drain. You can pour your grease into an old coffee tin and use it for other recipes or dispose of the coffee tin in the garbage when you are finished.[4]
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    Pour your sauce in with your sausage. If you're using a thicker sauce, you may need to use a spoon to scoop your sauce from its container to join your meat, but you could also pour the sauce straight into your pan. In many cases, you'll be adding a whole can of sauce to your meat, though you should follow sauce label directions for best results.[5]
    • You may want an extra saucy rigatoni, in which case you should add more sauce to the mix. If you prefer a less saucy option, add ½ - ¾ a container of sauce instead.
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    Add the cheese to your sauce and meat. You'll want to use about ¾ of both your provolone and mozzarella cheese in your sauce/meat mixture. Stir in the cheese with the sauce and meat to add a cheesy consistency throughout. Allow this to cook for 5 - 7 minutes on medium heat, then remove the saucepan from the heat and allow it to cool for a few minutes.[6]

Part 2
Preparing the Noodles

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    Boil the rigatoni noodles until slightly under cooked. In a suitable pot, bring water to a boil and add your noodles. Subtract a few minutes from the cooking time indicated on the box, and cook it until the noodles are only slightly rigid. Generally, you'll have to cook your pasta for about 10 minutes.
    • You'll want your noodles a little under cooked because the noodles will continue to cook in your sauce when you bake your rigatoni in the oven. Cooking your noodles fully before baking might cause your noodles to be mushy and over-soft.[7]
    • You may notice that some pasta boxes direct you to add salt to the water. This will add flavor to your pasta as it cooks.[8]
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    Sauce your pan. This will help your sauce to infuse the entire dish so that the bottom noodles don't come out dry and sauceless. Use a spoon to spread a thin layer of sauce along the bottom of your baking pan. Usually, this will only take 2 spoonfuls of sauce.[9]
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    Layer your noodles in a pan. You'll want to use a pan a few inches (5 - 7 cm) deep so that your baked rigatoni doesn't overflow while cooking. A 9 x 13-inch (23 x 33 cm) pan would work well for this. Add your under cooked noodles to the pan.[10]
    • An oven safe casserole dish works as an excellent replacement for metal baking dishes. If you have no metal pans suitable for your baked rigatoni, use a casserole dish instead.
    • If you are making a large quantity of rigatoni, you may want to use a larger pan. The noodles should sit in the pan so there is a small space between the noodles and the lip of the pan.
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    Cover your noodles with your meat/sauce mixture. Position the saucepan over your noodle filled baking dish and either pour or scoop the mixture onto the pasta. The mixture should form an even layer over the noodles, and you may need to use a spoon to evenly distribute the mixture.
    • Once your noodles are covered, you can sprinkle your remaining cheese atop it. This will create a cheesy top layer in your rigatoni after it bakes.[11]

Part 3
Finishing Your Rigatoni

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    Bake at 350 °F (177 °C) until the cheese melts. Depending on your oven and other factors, like the heat of the day, the time it takes for your rigatoni to cook may vary. Because of this, you should keep an eye on your pasta as it bakes. Generally, it will take about 25 minutes before the dish is ready.[12]
    • You can remove your noodles early from the oven if you like your cheese stringy and melty. If you prefer your cheese brown and encrusted, you may want to add a few minutes to the bake time.
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    Garnish your rigatoni. Some eye appealing color added to your rigatoni dish can give your food a gourmet appearance. This can be done easily by sprinkling parsley flakes over the noodles after it comes out of the oven. You could also wedge a stem of parsley between the noodles and the side of your dish.[13]
    • You may also want to add some seasoning to your rigatoni to give it a stronger flavor. You might add garlic salt, pepper, a dash of Italian seasoning, or whatever else you think might add flavor to your baked rigatoni.[14]
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    Allow to cool and serve. The middle parts of your rigatoni can be especially hot, so you should give your pasta at least 10 to 15 minutes to cool before attempting to eat. A large serving spoon, slotted spoon, or spatula can work well for serving your rigatoni.


  • You can save time when cooking by boiling your noodles as you prepare your meat/sauce mixture. However, you should keep an eye on the cook times as you do so. It's easy to get distracted and overcook either the meat/sauce mixture or the noodles.


  • Be sure your sausage is fully cooked before eating. Eating raw, under cooked meat can make you sick.

Article Info

Categories: Pasta and Noodles