31 Comforting Baked Pasta Dishes
Crusty Baked Shells & Cauliflower
Even sauteed cauliflower feels decadant in this cheesy-crunchy baked pasta from Ina Garten. Be careful not to overcook your pasta, as it will continue to cook in the oven.
Baked Rigatoni with Milk-Braised Pork, Ricotta and Lemon
The key to this dish is the tender milk-braised pork and its cooking liquid, which is pureed to form the sauce for the rigatoni.
Pork-and-Ricotta-Stuffed Jumbo Shells
Food & Wine's Justin Chapple amps up the filling in stuffed shells by including ground pork. Make sure to use your favorite prepared tomato sauce here.
Baked Rigatoni with Broccoli, Green Olives and Pancetta
Instead of using tomato sauce, Hugh Acheson makes his version of baked ziti with intensely sweet roasted tomatoes.
Baked Macaroni with Mortadella and Mozzarella
Fresh mozzarella, mortadella, eggs, and a rich pork ragù star in this comforting dish from chef Paul Kahan.
Baked Rigatoni with Spinach, Ricotta, and Fontina
A quick take on spinach and ricotta cannelloni, this baked pasta is fast because there’s nothing to stuff. The filling is simply tossed with cooked rigatoni that’s then topped with fontina and baked to a golden brown.
Creamy Tuna Noodle Cazuela
Jarred piquillo peppers and imported canned tuna from Spain add an Iberian twist to the classic American tuna casserole.
Three-Cheese Baked Pasta with Porcini and Radicchio
This pasta dish includes Asiago, Fontina, and Parmesan cheese.
Baked Four-Cheese Spaghetti
Marc Murphy grew up eating this intensely cheesy baked spaghetti. “When I was young, we lived in Genoa, where spaghetti is the pasta of choice. This is my mother’s version of macaroni and cheese,” he says.
Fresh spinach ravioli are a clever shortcut for making lasagna: Each ravioli is already a mini layer of pasta, cheese and vegetable.
Grant's Mac and Cheese
Grant Achatz’s personal touch to his macaroni and cheese is a tablespoon of paprika (to enhance the color of the sauce) and lots of smoky, crisp bacon bits.
Lasagna-Style Baked Pennette with Meat Sauce
This hearty, meaty baked pasta is Tom Valenti’s ultimate make-ahead meal. “It’s actually better the next day,” he says. “I always make more than I think we’ll need—and we always eat all of it.”
No need to roast fresh pumpkin for this dish (although you certainly could); using canned unseasoned pumpkin puree is much quicker, and it works just fine. Like most lasagnes, this one is easier to cut if left to set for ten minutes or so before serving.
Leek Mac and Cheese
Cooks usually reserve dark, tough leek greens for stock. Here, Grace Parisi sautés them until they’re soft and supple, then folds them into a luscious macaroni and cheese made with nutty Manchego.
Baked Orecchiette with Pork Sugo
In Italian cuisine, a sugo is a gravy or sauce. Here, Ethan Stowell prepares a pork sugo by braising pork shoulder until it almost falls apart, shredding it in a food processor and mixing it with a red-wine-and-tomato sauce; then he bakes it with orecchiette under a topping of Parmigiano cheese until crispy. The dish is an excellent alternative to the usual baked pasta, because it’s not as heavy and cheesy but still delicious and satisfying.
F&W’s editors tested three different Bolognese-style lasagnas with creamy béchamel sauce before deciding that the definitive lasagna had to have tomato sauce, chunks of meat, shredded mozzarella and creamy ricotta cheese.
Cheesy Mixed Pasta Casserole with Mushrooms
Melissa Rubel Jacobson created this recipe to use up extra dried mushrooms and odds and ends of pasta. While the different pasta shapes cook at different rates in the water, they all become tender once baked.
Ziti, Eggplant, and Fontina Gratin
Eggplant is sautéed in olive oil until it’s creamy soft and then tossed with pasta and cheese. A quick stint under the broiler melts the fontina and browns the top.
Baked Eggplant Parmesan Penne
Served over pasta, this deconstructed take on Eggplant Parmesan swaps the usual fried eggplant for a sautéed version. Whole-wheat pasta can be used for more fiber.
Free-Form Sausage-and-Three-Cheese Lasagna
This gooey lasagna is packed with cheese and sausage. It’s called free-form because the pasta can be arranged in different ways—for instance, folded over the filling—instead of traditionally layered.
Greek Baked Pasta
The moist and fragrant casserole pastitsio combines béchamel (a sauce of butter, flour and milk), pasta, ground lamb, tomato sauce, cheese, cinnamon and nutmeg. Instead of béchamel, Grace Parisi stirs a ricotta mixture into the pasta before baking it.
Cheesy Baked Pasta with Radicchio
A splash of red wine vinegar balances the richness of this cheesy pasta and magnifies the pink color of the onions and radicchio. Omit the prosciutto to make this a vegetarian main dish.
Creamy Baked Pasta with Gruyère and Prosciutto
For a simple and ultra-creamy baked pasta, take a cue from chef Ashley Christensen of Poole’s Diner: Trade the béchamel for this much easier sauce of heavy cream simmered with plenty of nutmeg and two kinds of cheese.
Crab Macaroni Gratin
A glorious amount of crabmeat baked with shell-shaped pasta in a three-cheese cream sauce —tangy white Cheddar, nutty Gruyère, and sharp Parmigiano-Reggiano—is no-joke delicious, and très riche. That’s where the Champagne comes in. The tingly bubbles give your palate an ultrasonic scrub between each creamy, cheesy, blissful bite.
Pickled Pepper Macaroni and Cheese
Crispy panko breadcrumbs add crunch to this rich and cheesy pasta casserole.
Shortcut Baked Rigatoni with Meatballs
Dry pasta and meatballs get baked with mozzarella and marinara in this genius shortcut recipe.
Baked Rigatoni with Eggplant, Tomatoes and Ricotta
“There is no more comforting food in the world than a bubbly pasta dish straight from the oven,” says chef Jonathan Waxman. He replaces the béchamel in this traditional baked pasta with lush eggplant. To make the recipe even healthier, he suggests using whole-wheat pasta.
If you don’t want to poach chicken breasts for this slightly dressed-up chicken tetrazzini, you can use 3 to 4 cups of meat from a rotisserie chicken instead.
You can also use rotisserie chicken in this recipe instead of turkey, if you prefer.
In this lasagna recipe, fresh basil brings brightness, sliced mushrooms lend earthiness and toothsome texture, and ricotta delivers the creaminess between the layers.
Speedy Baked Ziti
As the name of this recipe suggests, this is the fastest way to make really good baked ziti. The key is to doctor good-quality jarred tomato sauce with ground meat, onion, garlic and spices. From there, you add creamy fresh ricotta, shredded mozzarella and flavorful Parmesan. Once the meat is browned, everything comes together quickly and the dish bakes up to gooey cheesy perfection in just 15 minutes.