Shortcut Baked Rigatoni with Meatballs


Dry pasta and meatballs get baked with mozzarella and marinara in this genius shortcut recipe. Slideshow: More Rigatoni Recipes 

Shortcut Baked Rigatoni and Meatballs
Photo: Con Poulos
Active Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 45 mins
6 to 8


  • ½ pound ground pork

  • ½ pound ground beef

  • ½ cup plain dry breadcrumbs

  • cup torn basil (plus more for garnish lightly packed)

  • ¼ cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (plus more for garnish freshly grated)

  • 2 eggs (large lightly beaten)

  • Kosher salt

  • Pepper

  • 1 pound rigatoni (uncooked)

  • 1 pound fresh mozzarella (torn into -inch pieces)

  • 3 cups marinara sauce (store-bought)


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°. In a large bowl, combine the pork, beef, breadcrumbs, basil, cheese, eggs, and 1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper; mix well. Roll tablespoonfuls of the mixture between wet palms to form 30 meatballs.

  2. In a 9-by-13-inch ceramic baking dish, spread half of the pasta in an even layer. Arrange half of the meatballs and mozzarella over the pasta. Spoon half of the marinara sauce on top, and season with 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Repeat with the remaining pasta, meatballs, mozzarella, sauce, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Add 2 1/2 cups of water to the dish, and cover tightly with foil.

  3. Bake until the pasta is tender and most of the liquid is absorbed, about 1 hour. Uncover and bake for 5 more minutes. Turn on the broiler, and broil 8 inches from the heat until the top is lightly browned. Let stand for 5 minutes, and then garnish the baked pasta with basil and cheese and serve.


You can use other pasta shapes, such as longer, thinner ziti, curly rotini or fusilli, shells, or campanelle, which look like little bells.

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