Who loves an easy and comforting weeknight meal? There’s just something about pasta that warm and cozy and always comforting. This Easy Cheesy Baked Rigatoni Pasta will become a favorite part of your weeknight rotation.
Pasta is just one of those ultimate comfort foods. While some dishes like lasagna or even a Bolognese sauce are more suited to weekend cooking, this hearty and decadent dish comes together in an hour.
When it comes to easy weeknight meals, you can’t beat a one pot dish. This Easy Cheesy Baked Rigatoni Pasta not only requires little prep, everything cooks in one pan.
Skip boiling the pasta. One of the things that I love about this recipe is that I can prepare it all in my Staub 12″ cast iron pan. This allows me to brown the sausage to develop those irresistible crispy brown bits in addition to cooking the pasta in the sauce itself. I love that it easily transfers from the stovetop to the oven to finish off baking. Its versatility makes it a breeze to prepare meals like this.
With minimal effort this savory dish is all about building layers of flavor. It starts with mild Italian sausage. Use your favorite type of sausage for this. You can substitute pork sausage with Italian turkey sausage.
Next comes the aromatics. Garlic and onions are sauteed along with dried herbs, chili flakes for a little sass, and salt and pepper.
Part of what makes this dish so easy is the use of your favorite marinara. You can take the help of the grocery store for this or use homemade. The choice is completely up to you! In addition to the marinara water is also added. This will create just enough liquid for the rigatoni to cook in the sauce. Not only does this eliminate the step of boiling pasta, there’s just something magic about the way the rigatoni absorbs all of the flavors of the sausage, onions, garlic, and that tangy sweet marinara.
I did promise cheese. You can’t have a baked pasta without that layer of molten ooey gooey cheese. I don’t know about you but I always go for the browned bits first.
Dinner Done with Easy Cheesy Baked Rigatoni Pasta
Get our your 12″ cast iron, and let’s make your new favorite pasta! I will take you step by step so you can have dinner on the table in a hurry.
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- Heat your cast iron pan over medium heat with the olive oil. You want your pan hot when you add your sausage so it browns and develops that first layer of flavor.
- Add your onions, garlic, and seasoning to the pan and continue to saute until the onions are tender, about five minutes.
- Next add your water and marinara, stirring to combine and then add the pasta. You want to make sure the pasta is submerged in the sauce.
- Cover your pan with foil and bake for 50 minutes.
- Remove the foil and add your shredded mozzarella. Bake uncovered for 10 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbly and the pasta is tender.
Are you looking for more easy weeknight dinners? Make sure you check out my recipe for Sheet Pan Orange Glazed Chicken and Cabbage.
Easy Cheesy Baked Rigatoni Pasta
- 12" cast iron skillet
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 lbs mild Italian sausage
- 1 onion, diced
- 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp dried basil
- dash of chili flakes
- 2 cups marinara sauce
- 2 cups water
- 1 lbs rigatoni
- 2 cups mozzarella, shredded
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- Heat your skillet over medium heat with the olive oil.
- Add the sausage to your heated skillet, breaking it up with your spoon. Cook 5 minutes until browned and cooked through.
- Add the onions, garlic, basil, oregano, and salt and pepper. Cook for 5 more minutes while stirring.
- Stir in the water and marinara. Add the dry pasta and stir to combine. Make sure the pasta is submerged in the sauce.
- Cover the pan with foil and bake for 50 minutes.
- Remove the foil and top the pasta with cheese. Cook for 10 more minutes.
- Serve immediately. Buon appetito!