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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!

close up view of plate with serving of pasta rigatoni bolognese

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.

top view casserole dish of finished baked rigatoni bolognese recipe, with serving on a white plate with fork

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.

fork taking a bite of rigatoni pasta with bolognese sauce and cheese

Ingredients You Need

  • Butterto sautee the veggies
  • Onionchopped
  • Carrotchopped
  • Celerychopped
  • Garlicminced
  • Ground beefor turkey
  • Seasoningssalt, ground nutmeg, crushed red pepper (optional for heat)
  • Crushed tomatoescanned, I recommend low sodium
  • Tomato sauce canned, plain with no seasonings
  • White wineor water
  • Dried rigatoni noodlesor other preferred hearty, tubular pasta noodles
  • Heavy creamto create a perfectly cream bolognese sauce
  • Mozzarellashredded
  • Parmesanshaved
  • Fresh parsley or basilchopped, for garnish
wood cutting board with piles of chopped celery, carrot, onion and garlic to make easy rigatoni bolognese recipe

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.

large dutch oven with cooked ground beef and veggies

Next, pour in the crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, white wine, 2 cups of water, and rigatoni noodles.

pouring canned tomato sauce to the large pot of cooked ground beef and veggies

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.)

stirring pasta noodles into the tomato sauce and ground beef mixture

Then stir in the heavy cream and 2 cups of shredded mozzarella.

Get the Complete (Printable) Creamy Baked Rigatoni Bolognese Recipe + VIDEO Below. Enjoy!

stirring cheese into the pasta, tomato, beef and veggie mixture

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.

adding shredded mozzarella cheese to the top of the rigatoni pasta casserole

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.

finished casserole made with easy oven baked rigatoni bolognese recipe, topped with shredded fresh basil

Serving Suggestions

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!

Other fabulous sides are crunchy kale caesar salad, caprese panzanella salad, and stacked tomato salad.

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!

large metal spoon scooping a serving of baked pasta with sauce and cheese

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I make bolognese sauce without wine?

Although the alcohol completely cooks out of the dish, feel free to swap the white wine for 1 cup of additional water.

Can I make gluten-free baked rigatoni with bolognese?

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.

How do I make it ahead and freeze?

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.

How long do leftovers last?

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.

top view of finished plate of cheesy baked rigatoni bolognese with fork, with additional serving on a plate and casserole dish in the background

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Creamy Baked Rigatoni Bolognese Recipe + VIDEO

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 38 minutes
An easy recipe for oven baked rigatoni with a rich, creamy bolognese sauce. Cheesy, meaty and satisfying, this hearty dish is classic family-friendly comfort food!
Servings: 12 servings

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Set out a 9X13 inch baking dish. Place a large saucepot over medium heat. 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 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.

Video

Notes

Both the crushed red pepper and wine are optional, If skipping the wine, add in 1 extra cup of water.

Nutrition

Serving: 1.25cup, Calories: 491kcal, Carbohydrates: 41g, Protein: 23g, Fat: 25g, Saturated Fat: 13g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 8g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 80mg, Sodium: 1013mg, Potassium: 736mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 9g, Vitamin A: 2827IU, Vitamin C: 13mg, Calcium: 302mg, Iron: 3mg
Course: dinner, Main, Main Course
Cuisine: American, Italian
Author: Sommer Collier

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4 comments on “Creamy Baked Rigatoni Bolognese”

  1. What a lovely pasta dish. It looks cheesy and delicious. SO easy to make too. I bet my family would love this pasta for dinner. I will definitely save your recipe and give it a try.

  2. I loooove bolognese but never thought to bake it with cheese as a casserole type dish – wow this is delicious!

  3. This baked pasta dish is one of the best ones that I have tried! I cannot wait to make it again!

  4. I was excited to make this until I saw that it called for ground beef or turkey.  The flavour in a Bolognese sauce comes from using the 3 meats; beef, pork and veal.   The recipe above is just a meat sauce.  I love your site and have made many dishes from it but was disappointed here.