- Cook Time
- Difficulty Level Intermediate
BAKED RIGATONI – Pasta al Forno
Baked Rigatoni: Every Italian household has their very own version of it! From North to South the ingredients differ but the cheesy goodness and perfect crunchy edges never really change. My version of baked rigatoni is made the southern way, typical to my wife’s region Calabria. Each bite is made up of crispy salami, moist mince, the perfect amount of cheese, homemade sauce and thick pasta tubes. The surprise in this recipe is the egg – once you have tried it, you will ALWAYS add it in.
What’s your families favorite ingredient for “Pasta al forno”?
Watch Baked Rigatoni video recipe
How to Make Pasta al Forno also known as Baked Ziti Recipe
2 x bottles Italian tomato passata (700ml each)
Half an onion
4-5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
500g – 17.02oz dry rigatoni pasta
500g – 1lb pork and veal mince (mixed ground pork and veal)
Fresh basil leaves
1 x large Fior di latte mozzarella
1 x large Buffalo mozzarella
50g – 2 oz provolone cheese
100g – 1 cup cups grated pecorino cheese
1 whole calabrese spicy salami
Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
Large pot for your sauce
Medium size fry pan
Large pot for boiling pasta
Small pot for eggs
Medium size fry pan
- Baked rigatoni recipes vary all over Italy, mine starts by dicing half an onion into small pieces.
- Place a large pot on the stove at a medium heat and add 4-5 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Once this has started to warm up, add the finely diced onion and simmer for 6-7 minutes or until they have started to turn a golden brown.
- Now, add the tomato passata and stir it really well so the onion combines with the sauce. Once it starts to simmer, add a pinch of rock salt.
- Place the lid on top of the pot and leave the sauce for your baked rigatoni to cook for around 30 minutes, stirring it every so often.
- While the sauce is cooking, get a medium size fry pan and put it on the stove at a medium heat before drizzling a generous amount of extra virgin olive oil.
- Add the 500g of mixed pork and veal mince into the pan and let it start to brown while you break it down and spread it out into smaller pieces using a wooden spoon
- Cover the mince and let this cook for between 6-8 minutes, checking it and stirring it through again after 5 minutes.
- Once the sauce for your pasta al forno is ready, remove the lid and add some fresh basil leaves to it and stir gently, but really well.
VINCENZO’S PLATE TIP: Don’t cut your basil leaves with a knife! Break them with your hands or you lose some of the aroma and beautiful fresh flavours of this wonderful herb!
- At this point, your mince and sauce for the pasta al forno are ready! Add two ladles of sauce into the mince and mix through.
- Now, add a large amount of water to your big pot and bring it to the boil. This will be for the pasta in this delicious baked rigatoni dish.
- At the same time, fill a small pot with water, bringing it to boil also – then add 3 eggs, and let them cook for 12 – 14 minutes depending on how hard you want them.
- After 14 minutes, drop the eggs into a bowl of ice water so they stop cooking and don’t go dark in the middle.
- Once the eggs are ready, start cooking your rigatoni and check the packet instructions for the cooking time.
- Strain your pasta 3 minutes before the instruction time – otherwise your pasta will overcook
- While the pasta is cooking, take the eggs out of the ice water bowl, peel them and leave them to the side.
- Once you have strained the pasta for your baked rigatoni, put it into the pot filled with sauce – not a mixing bowl!!
- Mix the pasta and the sauce using a wooden spoon so each piece of pasta is completely covered.
VINCENZO’S PLATE TIP: Be gentle when mixing so the pasta doesn’t break!
- Next, peel the skin off your salami and cut it into slices (not too thin!) before chopping it into pieces and put them to the side.
- Cut all of the cheeses into small cubes, making sure to remove the skin from your provolone!
- Now, its’ time to assemble the pasta al forno!
- The first step to putting together the baked rigatoni is get your tray, and using a large spoon, smother the base with sauce. Don’t pour it in, but make sure each part is nice and wet.
- Next, add the pasta, smoothing it out to cover each edge, before adding a few spoonful’s of mince, pieces of both the fior di latte and buffalo mozzarella, a sprinkle of pecorino cheese, handful of salami and eggs.
- Repeat this until you run out of ingredients – or get to the top! On top of the final layer of pasta al forno, add a generous amount of provolone cheese, pecorino, salami and eggs.
VINCENZO’S PLATE TIP: Add some buffalo mozzarella on top too if you have some left for some extra cheese pull!
- The baked rigatoni is now ready to be put in the oven at 180 degrees celcius/350F for approx. 30 minutes.
- After 20 minutes, check if your pasta has started to brown around the edges and if it hasn’t leave it in the oven for another 10-15minutes.
- Remove it from the oven, let it sit for around 5-7 minutes before you serve.
HOW TO SERVE:
Once the pasta has cooled slightly, the cheese will have started to dry through the middle, cut the first piece using a spatula and leave it to the side (the first one never turns out perfectly!), then portion the rest of your serves and they should hold together nicely
Baked rigatoni/pasta al forno is also DELICIOUS the day after it is cooked, warmed up in a pan…try it and let me know!
E ora si mangia, Vincenzo’s Plate…Enjoy!
You MUST also try my Nonna Lasagna mad with crepes:
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