This easy cheesy rigatoni bake is all about incredible flavor! A true family favorite! Bake this favorite pasta with a garlicky tomato sauce, and you’ve got simple and comforting, all baked into one big casserole!
This is one of our family favorites, and it’s one of my favorite recipes to make a double or triple batch of to freeze. It’s our #1 freezer cooking or Once a Month Cooking (OAMC) recipe.
Why We Love This Recipe
- So easy!
- Makes enough for a large family or a day of leftovers
- Is the perfect recipe for freezer cooking or oamc (once a month cooking sessions)
- Lots of great flavor
- You can add your own ingredients like meat, vegetables, etc.
What You Need for Cheesy Rigatoni Bake
rigatoni noodles – I highly recommend Rigatoni noodles for the softer texture and rich flavor of this recipe, but any tubed pasta should work just fine.
butter – salted or unsalted – it’s minimal so not very noticeable in the recipe
all-purpose flour – this shouldn’t really be substituted with another kind
salt – you can skip this if you want, but this recipe doesn’t have a lot of sodium, so a little added is nice.
milk – any type from skim to whole. I also think it would work perfectly fine with almond milk, coconut milk, cashew milk, etc.
eggs – we used large eggs for this recipe
spaghetti sauce – any jar or canned spaghetti sauce will do, or you can simply make your own from scratch. A flavored spagetthi sauce will only add to the flavor, so feel free to get what you love.
shredded mozzarella cheese – you can substitute another shredded cheese, but the mild flavor of the mozzarella doesn’t over power any of the other ingredients.
grated Parmesan cheese – fresh or jarred.
How to Make Cheesy Rigatoni Bake
Cook the pasta according to the package directions.
In a small saucepan, melt the butter. Slowly stir in the flour and salt until smooth. Gradually add the milk and the water. Bring it to a boil, cook and stir for 2 minutes until it gets thicker.
Drain the pasta, rinse in cold water and place it in a large bowl. Add the eggs to the pasta and stir.
Pour the pasta into a 9×13 pan.
Layer the top of the noodles with the spaghetti sauce.
Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese over the top of that.
Next spoon the white sauce mixture over the cheese.
Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over the entire thing.
Bake uncovered for 30-35 minutes at 375 degrees or until a meat thermometer reads 160 degrees.
Freezer Cooking Directions
If you have doubled or tripled the recipe, or just want to save this one for another night – it needs to be covered and can be frozen for up to 3 months. We use these pans for this method.
When you’re ready to serve, thaw in the pan in the refrigerator overnight or at least 12 hours. Then cover and bake at 375 for 40 minutes. Uncover and bake 7-10 minutes longer or cooked through.
What to serve with Cheesy Rigatoni Bake
- Garlic Bread with Fresh Herbs
- Blueberry Spinach Salad
- Avocado Pomegranate Spinach Salad
- Green Beans with Bacon and Caramelized Onions
- Pomegranate Orange Spinach Salad
- Strawberry Avocado Spinach Salad with Strawberry Vinaigrette
Cheesy Rigatoni Bake Recipe Variations
We love this Rigatoni Bake as written, but it would work well with all sorts of tweaks and twists. Have fun making it your own! Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Include some veggies. Spinach, eggplant, zucchini, squash, bell peppers; your choices are endless.
- Switch the sauce. Maybe instead of a red tomato sauce, you could switch to a white alfredo sauce or a pesto.
- Add extra protein. Cooked beans, shredded chicken, crumbled beef – again your possibilities are endless.
Let me know what variations you try!
Recipe for Cheesy Rigatoni Bake Recipe
Cheesy Rigatoni Bake Recipe
- 1 16 ounces package rigatoni noodles
- 2 tablespoons butter
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups milk
- ¼ cup water
- 4 eggs lightly beaten
- 1 16 ounces jar of spaghetti sauce use a flavored sauce for even more flavor
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 2 cups mozzarella cheese
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Cook the pasta according to the package directions.
- In a small saucepan, melt the butter. Slowly stir in the flour and salt until smooth. Gradually add the milk and the water. Bring it to a boil, cook and stir for 2 minutes until it gets thicker.
- Drain the pasta and rinse with cold water. Place pasta in a large bowl. Add the beaten eggs to the pasta and stir.
- Pour the pasta into a 9×13 pan. Layer the top of the noodles with your spaghetti sauce of choice. Mix in the Italian Seasoning and minced garlic.
- Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese over the top of that layer. Next spoon the white sauce over the cheese. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over the entire thing.
- Bake uncovered for 20-30 minutes at 375 degrees.
- If you have doubled the recipe, or just want to save this one – it needs to be covered and can be frozen for up to 3 months.
- When ready to serve, thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Then cover and bake at 375 for 40 minutes. Uncover and bake 7-10 minutes longer or cooked.