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. Slideshow:  Baked Pasta Dishes 

Baked Rigatoni with Broccoli, Green Olives and Pancetta
Photo: © Christina Holmes
Total Time:
1 hrs 20 mins


  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for greasing

  • 1 1/2 pounds plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise

  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed

  • 2 thyme sprigs

  • 1/2 cup torn basil leaves, plus 1 basil sprig

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • Kosher salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 1/2 pounds broccoli, cut into small florets and stems reserved for another use

  • One 4-ounce slice of pancetta, finely diced

  • 1 large onion, very finely chopped

  • 1 cup pitted green olives, such as Castelvetrano, halved

  • 1 pound rigatoni

  • 2 cups fresh ricotta cheese

  • 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese


  1. Preheat the oven to 425° and butter a 9-by-13-inch ceramic or glass baking dish. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the tomatoes, garlic, thyme and basil sprigs with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for about 20 minutes, until softened and browned in spots; let cool. Discard the thyme and basil sprigs and coarsely chop the tomatoes and garlic, reserving any juices.

  2. Meanwhile, on another rimmed baking sheet, toss the broccoli florets with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 15 minutes, or until crisp-tender. Leave the oven on.

  3. Meanwhile, in a large, deep skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the pancetta and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until browned and nearly crisp, about 5 minutes. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the olives, tomatoes and garlic and the 2 tablespoons of butter; keep warm.

  4. In a pot of salted boiling water, cook the rigatoni until al dente. Drain, reserving 1 1/4 cups of the cooking water. Stir the pasta into the skillet along with the reserved cooking water, broccoli, ricotta, torn basil and 1/2 cup of the Parmigiano. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer the pasta to the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of Parmigiano on top and bake for 15 minutes, until bubbling and browned on top. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Make Ahead

The baked pasta can be refrigerated overnight.

Suggested Pairing

Pair with a juicy, medium-bodied red, such as Chianti.

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