Baked Rigatoni Pasta Recipe
Foodie Sisters in Italy, Benedetta and Valeria, have just prepared a comforting and cozy baked pasta recipe made with rigatoni, tomato sauce, and bechamel. Rigatoni pasta is tossed in a rich, cheesy, sauce before being cooked in the oven until the top is crunchy and the interior is creamy and satisfying. Watch the video and get the recipe for this delicious and versatile dish.
Lasagne is undoubtedly the most famous oven-baked pasta dish but, in Italy, there are many variations that use different types of pasta and a limitless selection of sauces. This recipe, from our favorite cookbook Il Talismano della Felicità, mixes rigatoni pasta with a robust sauce of tomato, bechamel, and a hefty dose of cheese. Once you have the basic procedure you could also add cooked ham (as per the original recipe), add meat or vegetables, or try a version ‘in bianco‘ without the tomato sauce.
The correct cooking of the pasta is fundamental to the success of the dish. As a rule, when cooking dried pasta, you should put plenty of cold water into a large saucepan (1/2 liter of water for each 100g of pasta). Bring to the boil before adding salt (10g salt per 1 liter of water). Add the pasta, stir, and leave to cook.
For this recipe, the pasta should not be completely cooked as it will continue to cook in the oven so drain the rigatoni about 4-5 minutes less than the time indicated on the packet and ensure there is no excess water, otherwise the result will be soggy and overcooked.
The recipe requires both tomato sauce and bechamel sauce which can be made in advance and the whole thing can be prepared ahead of time and simply warmed up before serving. In Italy, the versatility of baked pasta means that it is often made for large family lunches or celebrations, and this recipe is just perfect for a hearty Sunday lunch.
Rigatoni al Forno
1kg tomato sauce
100g ham (optional)
1/2 liter bechamel sauce
Prepare a tomato sauce from scratch with carrot, onion, and celery.
Prepare the bechamel sauce.
Bring a large pan of water to the boil, add salt, and cook the rigatoni for 4-5 minutes less than the time stated on the packet.
Chop the mozzarella and ham (if using) into cubes and grate the parmesan and gruyère.
In a large bowl mix together the tomato sauce and bechamel. Add the cheeses and ham. Taste and season with salt and pepper if necessary.
Drain the pasta well and mix it into the sauce until well coated.
Preheat the oven to 200°C/430°F. Grease an oven-proof dish with butter, add the pasta and cook for about 20 minutes until the top is crunchy and golden.