Rigatoni Al Forno {Easy + Delicious}

The perfect comfort food, this recipe is easy to make with classic Italian flavors. Plus, it can be made in just 40 minutes with minimal cleanup.

Picky eaters will love this one, but when you realize how easy it is, you’ll love it more

close up view of finished dish.

Rigatoni al Forno

Filling, delicious, and easy to make, this dinner recipe is like a big hug after a long day.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Serving Size 6 servings

Ingredients 

  • 12 ounces rigatoni pasta (¾ of a 1 pound box) cooked al dente
  • 6 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 3 garlic cloves Minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper optional
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 24 ounces marinara sauce
  • 15 ounces crushed tomatoes
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 8 ounces mozzarella (I like to use fresh mozzarella)
  • fresh parsley or fresh basil for garnish

Instructions 

  • Cook pasta and preheat oven. Cook pasta al dente, according to package instructions. Drain, rinse and set aside. Preheat the oven to 400℉.
  • Mix ricotta and oregano. In a small bowl, mix together the ricotta cheese and dried oregano and set aside.
    small bowl with ricotta and herbs mixed.
  • Cook meat. Heat a 12” cast iron skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil. Add the ground beef and minced garlic. Cook until the ground beef is no longer pink. Drain the cooked ground beef if necessary and add back into the skillet.
    cooked ground beef in skillet.
  • Make the sauce. To the skillet, add the salt, pepper, crushed red pepper and tomato paste. Stir to combine and continue cooking over medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Pour in the marinara sauce and crushed tomatoes, stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Let simmer for 10 minutes to allow the flavors to come together.
    sauce and meat.
  • Add pasta and cheeses. Remove from the heat and stir in the pasta, making sure that the pasta is completely covered in sauce. Sprinkle the parmesan cheese over the top. Dollop on the ricotta cheese and lightly press in the torn mozzarella cheese in the empty spaces.
    pasta and cheese mixed with sauce.
  • Bake. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbling. Garnish with fresh basil and serve. Enjoy!
    finished dish with melted cheese.

Notes

For torn mozzarella, tear off bite size pieces form a brick or a log of fresh mozzarella. Alternatively you can use shredded mozzarella and sprinkle over the top as well.
If you don’t have an oven safe pan, you can transfer the sauce to a baking dish and mix in the pasta, and top with the cheeses.
Penne pasta or ziti can be used in place of rigatoni.
Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.
Reheat in the oven or microwave.
Calories: 645kcal | Carbohydrates: 57g | Protein: 36g | Fat: 31g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 102mg | Sodium: 1451mg | Potassium: 1004mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 1169IU | Vitamin C: 16mg | Calcium: 358mg | Iron: 5mg
scoop of finished rigatoni al forno.

❤️ Why you’ll love this recipe

  • Quick and easy to make in 40 minutes. Way easier than lasagna with all the deliciousness. Easy enough for a busy weeknight.
  • Classic flavors that even kids and picky eaters will love.
  • Full of cheesy goodness and just enough spice to give it some kick.

This is an overview of the ingredients. You’ll find the full measurements and instructions in the printable recipe at the bottom of the page.

ingredients on counter.

Here’s what you’ll need to make this cheesy and delicious dinner

  • rigatoni pasta 
  • ricotta cheese
  • dried oregano
  • olive oil
  • ground beef
  • garlic cloves 
  • salt
  •  black pepper
  • crushed red pepper 
  • tomato paste
  • marinara sauce
  • crushed tomatoes
  • grated parmesan cheese
  • mozzarella cheese (fresh mozzarella is my fave!)
  • fresh parsley or fresh basil for garnish
  • A large, ovenproof skillet around 12 inches wide.

🍴Instructions

Step One: cook meat and pasta

cooked ground beef in skillet.
  • Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain it and rinse it with cold water. Set it aside for now. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. In a small bowl, mix together the ricotta cheese and dried oregano and set aside.
  • Get a 12” skillet. Put it on the stove over medium heat. Then add olive oil. Add ground beef and minced garlic to the skillet. Cook until the ground beef is not pink anymore. If there is water, drain it off of the cooked ground beef before you add it back into the skillet.

Step Two: make sauce

sauce and meat.

To the skillet, add the salt, pepper, crushed red pepper and tomato paste. Stir to combine and continue cooking over medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Pour in the marinara sauce and crushed tomatoes, stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Let simmer for 10 minutes to allow the flavors to come together.

Step three

pasta and cheese mixed with sauce.

Remove from the heat and stir in the pasta, making sure that the pasta is completely covered in sauce. Sprinkle the parmesan cheese over the top. Dollop on the ricotta cheese and lightly press in the torn mozzarella cheese in the empty spaces.

Step Four: bake

finished dish with melted cheese.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbling. Garnish with fresh basil and serve. Enjoy!

🥫 Storage instructions

Leftover Rigatoni al Forno can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days in the refrigerator. To reheat, transfer the leftover rigatoni to a baking dish and bake at 350 F for 20 minutes or until heated through. For a single serving, you can also reheat it in the microwave. Enjoy!

🔍 FAQs

How can I make this vegetarian?

To make Rigatoni al Forno vegetarian, simply swap the ground beef for your favorite plant-based protein or additional vegetables.

Can I use a different type of pasta?

Yes! Penne pasta or ziti can be used in place of rigatoni. It will taste the same. 🙂

What if I don’t have an oven-safe pan?

No problem! You can transfer the sauce to a baking dish and mix in the pasta, then top with the cheeses. Bake as directed. It’s just one more dish.

👩🏻‍🍳 Expert tips

  • For torn mozzarella, tear off bite-size pieces from a brick or log of fresh mozzarella. Alternatively you can use shredded mozzarella and sprinkle it over the top as well.
  • Penne pasta or ziti can be used in place of rigatoni.
  • To ensure that each piece is covered with sauce, stir thoroughly after adding the pasta to the skillet before topping it with cheese.
  • Spice up your Rigatoni al Forno by adding additional crushed red pepper flakes for added heat!
  • Don’t forget to garnish your dish with fresh parsley or basil for some extra flavor and color!

📘 Related Recipes

🍽 Serve it with

plate of finished rigatoni.
Rigatoni Al Forno {Easy + Delicious}

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One Comment

  1. Cheese is great for most people, BUT some of us have allergic reactions that can kill us!! Can you give us some that do NOT use cheese BUT do well being cooked, baked and/or fried and hold up well during both the cooking AND the re-heating processes!! I know I would be extremely gratefull, as I am sure others would be, too!!!!!