Inspired by the viral TikTok honeycomb pasta cake, this easy Rigatoni Pie takes everyone’s favorite comfort food to a whole new level. Beautiful in presentation and unbelievably tasty, it’s made with pantry staple ingredients for a simple, filling meal that will make your tastebuds sing! Serve it on its own or with your favorite appetizers and sides.
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Is Rigatoni Pie the Same as Honeycomb Pasta Cake?
Yes! If you’re not up to date on all the TikTok trends, there was a version of rigatoni pie referred to as a honeycomb pasta cake that went viral. This is because when viewed from above the upright rigatoni noodles form the shape of a honeycomb.
There are many different variations of the dish. However, no matter what you choose to call it, it’s basically a fancy version of baked ziti or baked rigatoni. Obviously, it’s made with a base of rigatoni pasta that is covered with pasta sauce and cheese. Then, it’s placed in the oven until golden and bubbly. To serve, all you have to do is slice it like you would a chocolate cake, and enjoy!
What’s In This Rigatoni Pie Recipe?
Most rigatoni pie or pasta cake recipes you’ll find will be made with marinara sauce or a similar red sauce and Mozzarella or Parmesan cheese. However, like many of our recipes, we decided to put a Middle Eastern flair on ours and transformed it into a new version of our Baked Penne with Bèchamel Sauce! Here’s what you’ll need:
- Butter – Unsalted butter is melted down and used to form a rich base for the sauce.
- Flour – All-purpose flour helps thicken the mixture for a smooth sauce that coats all the pasta.
- Milk – We recommend using whole milk to combine the ingredients for the bèchamel to create a velvety texture and a rich, sweet taste. However, any milk you have on hand can be used.
- Seasonings – Salt, cinnamon or nutmeg, garlic powder, and ground black pepper combine to create the unique sweet and savory flavor bèchamel is known for.
- Pasta – We have found that wide rigatoni pasta noodles work best. Not only do they hold the honeycomb shape well, but they also fill with sauce so you get creamy flavor in each and every bite.
- Cheese – Shredded Mozzarella cheese is sprinkled on top for the best texture and taste.
How to Make the Viral Honeycomb Pasta Cake
One of the most common questions we get is, “Is pasta cake hard to make?” The answer is a big no! Looks can be deceiving, and the statement is especially true with this recipe. Follow the steps below, and you’ll have a picture-worthy dinner on the table in no time!
- Prepare the Pasta. Cook the pasta to al-dente according to the package instructions.
- Make the Bèchamel Sauce. Melt the butter in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat. Then, whisk in the flour, and let the ingredients cook for a few minutes. Slowly whisk in the hot milk. Continue to cook, whisking constantly until the mixture is smooth and thick. Stir in the seasonings, and set aside.
- Layer. Add about 2 cups of the prepared Bèchamel sauce to the bottom of a buttered springform pan, spreading it out evenly. Line the noodles upright in the pan, making sure they’re tightly packed. Fit as many as you can without crushing them! Pour the remaining sauce on top, and sprinkle the Mozzarella on top.
- Bake. Place the pan in the oven, and bake until the top is bubbly and golden brown.
- Cool. Remove the rigatoni pie from the oven, and let it cool before removing it from the springform pan. This helps it keep its shape!
As long as you have some kind of sauce and upright noodles in place, you can mix and match any ingredients you have on hand for this rigatoni pie! For instance, some flavor options include:
- Using marinara sauce, basil pesto sauce, or alfredo sauce.
- Including meat in the sauce such as shredded chicken, ground beef, or ground turkey.
- Doubling up the cheese with a mixture of Mozzarella and Parmesan, ricotta, or feta.
- Adding vegetables like chopped spinach, mushrooms, peppers, onions, or tomatoes.
To serve this rigatoni pasta cake, slice it into triangles like you would a dessert cake. It’s plenty filling on its own. However, you can never go wrong with an extra side or two, right? Make it a complete meal with additions like:
Can I Make Homemade Rigatoni Pie Ahead of Time?
Yes! In fact, we recommend making it ahead of time as it allows the flavors to soak in and become stronger.
To Prepare In Advance: Assemble your rigatoni pie as usual. Then, cover it with foil, and store it in the fridge for up to 2 days. Then, bake it in the oven as usual, adding more time as needed.
To Store: Once cooked and fully cooled, the dish can be covered and kept in the fridge for up to 2 days. To eat, cover it with foil, and reheat it in the oven at 350º Fahrenheit until heated.
More Family-Friendly Pasta Recipes
If you enjoyed this rigatoni pie, you won’t want to miss out on more of our favorite pasta dishes listed below!
Rigatoni Pie Recipe
- 8 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 5 cups whole milk scalding
- 3 teaspoons kosher salt + more or less to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon OR nutmeg
- Optional: 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper + more or less to taste
- 2 pounds wide rigatoni pasta cooked to al dente
- 2 cups Mozzarella cheese shredded
- Preheat the oven to 375° F. Butter a 10-inch springform pan, and set aside.
- Cook the pasta to al dente according to the package instructions. *Be sure to salt the water!
- In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the flour, and whisk to combine. Cook the mixture 2-3 minutes.
- Gradually add the hot milk, whisking continuously until the sauce is smooth and thick. Add the remaining seasonings, stirring to combine.
- Remove the saucepan from the heat, and set it aside.
- In the prepared springform pan, add 2 cups of the prepared sauce, spreading it out evenly.
- Arrange the pasta right side up in the pan, packing it tightly.
- Pour the remaining sauce evenly on top, and add the Mozzarella cheese.
- Bake 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
- Cool for 20 minutes before removing the rigatoni pie from the pan.
- Slice, and enjoy!
- Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.