Creamy Baked Rigatoni Bolognese
Baked Rigatoni Bolognese – An easy recipe for oven baked pasta with a rich and creamy bolognese sauce. Cheesy, meaty and satisfying, this hearty dish is a delicious and family-friendly classic comfort food!
Hearty, flavorful pasta dishes are fantastic for busy weeknights. Or leisurely weekends. And special occasions… Big family gatherings, holidays…
Ok, let’s just say it: Pasta is perfect for just about any dinner!
And some of my favorite Italian-inspired recipes are easy oven-baked meals. Tender pasta, zesty tomato sauce, savory meat, and ooey-gooey cheese all layered together and topped with bubbly extra cheese – what’s not to love?
Our baked ziti with sausage has long been a top go-to recipe, made with a simple tomato sauce and ricotta cheese. This Baked Rigatoni Bolognese pasta dish is a similar concept, but with a creamier and heartier Bolognese sauce.
Creamy Baked Rigatoni Bolognese
With one pot and one casserole dish, you are ready to make one heckuva delicious dinner!
Classic veggies – like celery, carrots, onion, and garlic – are sauteed with ground beef for zesty savory flavor. Then tomato sauce, white wine, heavy cream, mozzarella, and rigatoni are added to the mix to create a super filling, utterly rich, and tasty bolognese sauce. Load everything into the casserole dish, top with more shredded cheese, and bake to golden brown goodness in under an hour.
This perfect fall comfort food can even be made ahead and frozen! Serve baked rigatoni bolognese as a real crowd-pleasing (kids included!) meal, and I promise the family will ask for this recipe again and again.
Ingredients You Need
- Butter – to sautee the veggies
- Onion – chopped
- Carrot – chopped
- Celery – chopped
- Garlic – minced
- Ground beef – or turkey
- Seasonings – salt, ground nutmeg, crushed red pepper (optional for heat)
- Crushed tomatoes – canned, I recommend low sodium
- Tomato sauce – canned, plain with no seasonings
- White wine – or water
- Dried rigatoni noodles – or other preferred hearty, tubular pasta noodles
- Heavy cream – to create a perfectly cream bolognese sauce
- Mozzarella – shredded
- Parmesan – shaved
- Fresh parsley or basil – chopped, for garnish
How to Make Baked Rigatoni with Creamy Bolognese
Start to finish you need less than an hour to prepare this wonderfully easy oven-baked pasta recipe.
First, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and set out a 9X13 inch baking dish. Place a large saucepot over medium heat. Once hot add the butter, onion, celery, carrots, and garlic. Sauté for 3-5 minutes to soften.
Stir in the ground beef, salt, nutmeg, and crushed red pepper. Break the beef apart with a wooden spoon as you go, and cook for 5 minutes until browned.
Next, pour in the crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, white wine, 2 cups of water, and rigatoni noodles.
Stir well. Then cover the pot and simmer for 6-8 minutes, until the pasta is almost cooked through. (Basically, cook for a minute or two less than what the rigatoni package instructions recommend.)
Then stir in the heavy cream and 2 cups of shredded mozzarella.
Get the Complete (Printable) Creamy Baked Rigatoni Bolognese Recipe + VIDEO Below. Enjoy!
Scoop the pasta with bolognese sauce into the baking dish, and spread into an even layer. Sprinkle the top with the remaining shredded mozzarella and shaved parmesan cheese.
Bake for 18-20 minutes until golden on top. Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes.
Then sprinkle the top with chopped parsley or basil before serving.
Enjoy baked rigatoni bolognese as a hearty main with your favorite Italian-inspired side dishes. It’s great with creamed spinach or caprese salad, and carb-a-licious savory goodies like homemade breadsticks, parmesan bacon knots, or classic buttery garlic bread!
Or cuddle up with a cozy warm plateful of pasta bolognese casserole by itself. So long as you let this comforting dish be the star of the show, you simply can’t go wrong!
Frequently Asked Questions
Although the alcohol completely cooks out of the dish, feel free to swap the white wine for 1 cup of additional water.
Certainly! Substitute traditional pasta with your favorite gluten-free rigatoni to instantly make this a GF-friendly recipe. Just remember, gluten-free pasta does not hold its shape as long as wheat-based pasta. Therefore, you will need to serve this immediately, not as a make-ahead meal.
First off, I suggest you use a foil casserole pan if you plan to freeze and then reheat the dish. For a terrific freezer meal, prepare the rigatoni bolognese recipe as directed but do not bake. Instead, cover the pan and/or wrap with plastic cling wrap, then wrap again in a layer of aluminum foil. Freeze for up to 3 months. Unwrap and bake from frozen, covered with a fresh layer of foil, for 1 hour. Uncover and bake for an additional 20-30 minutes, until the cheese on top is melted and golden.
Leftover baked rigatoni with creamy bolognese sauce will keep well in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Transfer cooled leftovers to an airtight container before placing them in the fridge.
Looking for More Family-Friendly Pasta Recipes?
- Baked Spaghetti Pie
- Homemade Hamburger Helper
- Cheesy Chicken Alfredo Pasta Bake
- Italian Mac & Cheese
- Supreme Pizza Lasagna
Creamy Baked Rigatoni Bolognese Recipe + VIDEO
- ¼ cup butter
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 cup chopped celery
- 1 cup chopped carrot
- 3-5 cloves garlic minced
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper optional
- 28 ounce crushed tomatoes
- 28 ounce tomato sauce
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1 pound dried rigatoni noodles
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 3 cups shredded mozzarella
- 1 cup shaved parmesan
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley for garnish
- Stir in the ground beef, salt, nutmeg, and crushed red pepper. Break the beef apart with a wooden spoon and cook for 5 minutes.
- Pour in the crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, white wine, 2 cups of water, and rigatoni noodles. Stir well. Then cover and simmer for 6-8 minutes, until the pasta is almost cooked through.
- Stir in the heavy cream and 2 cups of shredded mozzarella. Scoop the pasta into the baking dish and spread into an even layer. Sprinkle the top with the remaining mozzarella cheese and parmesan cheese.
- Bake for 18-20 minutes until golden on top. Then sprinkle the top with chopped parsley. Serve warm.
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