Creamy and quick to make, this Spicy Baked Rigatoni is a flavorful vegetarian pasta bake that’s guaranteed to become a family favorite! Serve it with your favorite appetizers and sides for a filling dinner and easy leftovers the next day.
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What Is Rigatoni?
If you’re unfamiliar, rigatoni is a type of pasta. In fact, its name comes from the Italian word, “rigato,” which means ridged. Fittingly, rigatoni pasta is a short tubular pasta noodle. Furthermore, it’s easily identified by the distinct ridges it possesses on the outside and the smooth center. Most commonly, it’s paired with chunky sauces, because the ridges are great for picking up the chunks.
What’s the Difference Between Baked Rigatoni and Baked Ziti?
The main difference between the two is the texture and shape of each noodle. For instance, ziti is usually slightly thinner and longer than rigatoni and is completely straight while rigatoni has a slight curve.
Spicy Rigatoni Ingredients
Completely vegetarian, this rigatoni recipe comes together with minimal ingredients and plenty of cream for an extra indulgent comfort food. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Marinara Sauce – Because there are so few ingredients, it’s important to use a high-quality marinara sauce. We prefer chunky store-bought options. Or, you could easily make your own with a recipe like this.
- Heavy Cream – This is our secret to creating rich flavor and a satisfying texture!
- Frozen Peas – Feel free to add in any vegetables you have on hand for a boost of nutrients.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil – A great source of healthy fats, olive oil helps lock in the savory flavors and coats the noodles so they hang onto the sauce.
- Seasonings – A dash of sea salt, crushed red pepper, and minced garlic creates an incredible savory taste and packs a punch of heat you’ll love.
- Parmesan Cheese – You can’t have pasta without a bit of Parmesan! For the best results, use freshly grated cheese.
- Rigatoni – Be sure to cook your rigatoni before adding it to the dish. Otherwise, it’ll turn out hard and crunchy.
How to Make Baked Rigatoni
Honestly, the most difficult part of making this spicy baked rigatoni is just waiting for the noodles to boil. Then, all you have to do is toss the ingredients, and throw them in the oven! Take a look at an overview of the instructions below, and scroll to the bottom for the full details.
- Boil your rigatoni according to the package instructions.
- In the meantime, preheat the oven.
- Add all of the ingredients to a baking dish.
- Stir to combine, and pop it in the oven until the cheese has melted and the noodles are soft.
- Garnish with more Parmesan cheese, and serve warm!
We think this spicy rigatoni is fantastic on its own, but you can easily switch up the flavors with extra ingredients! Some of the best variations include:
- Using lean ground beef or Italian sausage
- Mixing in a different cheese like Mozzarella, Provolone, or Romano
- Including sauteéd veggies like mushrooms, onions, spinach, or bell peppers
We love to pair this dish with refreshing sides and appetizers for a healthy, filling meal! Some of our favorite options are:
Should I Bake My Rigatoni Covered or Uncovered?
Because the noodles are already cooked, we keep the dish uncovered to prevent the rigatoni from becoming soggy. This also helps the cheese melt and brown on top.
How Do I Keep My Pasta Moist in the Oven?
Be sure to undercook your rigatoni for just 1-2 minutes before adding it to the baking dish. This will prevent it from overcooking in the oven and drying out.
How long does spicy rigatoni last in the fridge?
When kept in an airtight container, leftovers will stay fresh in the fridge for 3-5 days.
Can I freeze baked rigatoni?
Yes! Tightly wrap up leftovers or transfer them to a sealable container, and store them in the freezer for up to 3 months. Then, let your pasta thaw in the fridge overnight. Or, warm it in the oven from frozen.
More Baked Pasta Recipes
Make oven baked pasta part of your weeknight routine with these yummy recipes!
- So addicting, you’ll be coming back for seconds and thirds, this Crack Chicken Pasta Bake is rich, creamy, and so easy to make.
- Guaranteed to become a favorite, this viral Oven Baked
Spaghettiis definitely here to stay!
- Simple and versatile, one bite of this Greek Pasta Bake will transport you to a Mediterranean restaurant next to the sea.
- This Baked Taco Pasta is always a winning weeknight dish!
Spicy Baked Rigatoni
- 16 ounces rigatoni
- 16 ounces good quality marinara sauce
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper more or less to taste
- 6 cloves minced garlic
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese plus more for garnish
- Cook the pasta to al-dente according to package instructions, and drain. *Be sure not to cook too long, because it will continue to cook in the oven!
- Preheat oven to 375° F.
- In a large baking dish, add the cooked and drained pasta, marinara sauce, heavy cream, peas, olive oil, salt, crushed red pepper, garlic, and Parmesan cheese.
- Stir until the ingredients are well-combined, and the pasta is completely coated.
- Bake in the oven for 20-22 minutes or until the cheese has melted. Garnish with extra Parmesan cheese, if desired.
- Serve warm!
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.