Meat Lover’s Baked Rigatoni

This is the best way to make baked ziti, except it’s made with rigatoni! You can use low fat cheeses, whole wheat pasta and leaner meats to make this a healthier dish too!

If you’re looking to make a baked ziti, this is a step above with rigatoni, spicy Sicilian sauce, delicious meat and cheeses baked perfectly for your enjoyment. This meat lover’s baked rigatoni pasta is great for a family dinner or it’s good to prepare so you can re-heat after refrigerating. If you want to learn how to make this meat lover’s baked rigatoni – here’s how.

meat lovers baked rigatoni
meat lovers baked rigatoni

Ingredients Needed:

  • 1lb rigatoni pasta
  • 1/2 ground beef
  • 1/2 ground veal
  • 1/2 ground spicy Italian sausage
  • 8oz shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • 24oz hot Sicilian pasta sauce
  • clove of garlic
  • olive oil
  • oregano
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 tray baking pan


Boil Pasta

Before you start preparing anything else, you can save yourself some time and start boiling water for your pasta. Once you bring your water to a boil, throw in your rigatoni pasta and let it cook while you continue preparing the rest of the ingredients.

Dice Garlic

To get started is to dice up the garlic cloves and separate the pile in to two halves (half for the meat, half for the sauce). Once you have your garlic ready, put it to the side until you are ready to start cooking with a flame.

Meat Prep

Next is the meat prep. When you are preparing your meat, take one large mixing bowl and put all three meats into the bowl with a pinch of oregano, salt and pepper. Mix the different meat cuts up nicely together.

Note: if you do not want to buy all three meat cuts, you can get 1lb of ground beef. *

Cheese Prep

Similar to the meat prep, you are going to need a mixing bowl. Take the ricotta and parmesan cheeses and mix them together.

Sauté the Meat

The next thing you’re going to do is turn on the stove to a low simmer and pour 1/2 oz of olive oil into the sauté pan.

Once the pan starts heating up, toss in the chopped up garlic and start sautéing. As the garlic browns, start adding in the raw meat from your mixing bowl and start sautéing the meat. As the meat begins to brown, continue mixing to make sure it cooks evenly throughout.

Cooking the Sauce

Put the meat aside as you get ready to cook your sauce. Similar to the meat prep, pour some olive oil into a sauce pan and start heating up before adding the rest of your garlic to the pan. Add a pinch of oregano, salt and pepper while you sauté the garlic until it browns. Start adding a jar of hot Sicilian pasta sauce as you sauté with the garlic and olive oil. Fill the empty jar of sauce with 1/2-1oz of water, close the lid and shake up the jar to get the remaining sauce inside the jar. Pour everything into the sauce to thin out the consistency slightly.

Pre-heat Oven

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees as you begin mixing all ingredients together.

Mixing it All Together

Once you have everything prepared, place the pasta into a half pan baking tray like the one seen below.

meat lovers baked rigatoni - half pan cooking tray

Mix in the meat generously throughout the entire tray so you can get it evenly dispersed.

Add in the cheese and continue to mix around all of the ingredients in the baking tray.

As you start to add the sauce to your tray, you will start to see cheese melting as you mix it in with the rest of the ingredients. This is the best part (behind eating it)!

Top it Off

The final step before baking your baked rigatoni is to add the mozzarella cheese. Be sure to be generous and cover your entire baking tray with mozzarella cheese.

Bake at 350° for 20-25minutes

Place the tray of rigatoni pasta into the oven and let it bake thoroughly for 20-25 minutes. You should notice the cheese start to melt and the top start to brown. This is when it starts to become delicious. It is recommended to let the entire top of the tray get toasty brown. If you like it crispy, raise the temperature to 400°-425° for 2 minutes before pulling out your baked rigatoni.

meat lovers baked rigatoni
meat lovers baked rigatoni

Let It Cool Off!

The hardest part about this recipe is letting it cool off once it’s finished! The smell will be amazing, the cheese will be melty and golden while your mouth starts to water. Let it sit for 5 minutes to cool down so you don’t burn your mouth.

Dig In and Enjoy!

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