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Baked Rigatoni with Ricotta

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Baked Rigatoni with Ricotta combines lean turkey sausage, rigatoni pasta, homemade marinara sauce, and ricotta cheese. This simple pasta dish is creamy and delicious and will be a hit with the whole family.

Try The Ultimate Lasagna Recipe next!

Closeup on a rectangular casserole of baked rigatoni with marinara and ricotta cheese.

Baked Pasta

While pasta isn’t something I make regularly, I occasionally enjoy it and especially love serving it to guests. How can you go wrong with Baked Feta Pasta with Spinach or Butternut Squash Lasagna with Spinach? This Baked Rigatoni Recipe is a perfect one to add to your list of pasta dishes. 

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Why This Recipe Works:

  • MAKE-AHEAD DISH – This baked rigatoni can be prepped ahead of time, refrigerated, and then baked at mealtime.
  • HOMEMADE SAUCE – We use this homemade marinara in several other dishes, including Classic Chicken Parmesan or Spinach Ricotta Lasagna. This is our favorite red sauce!
  • CHEESY – One of my favorite parts of this baked pasta is the delicious ricotta cheese. The ricotta plus parmesan cheese adds a ton of flavor to this family-favorite meal!
  • GREAT MEAL PREP – If you pack food for your hubby’s lunches as I do, large serving dishes (like this pasta bake) are always nice!
Closeup on a bowl of rigatoni pasta with red sauce.

What You’ll Need:

This Baked Ricotta Recipe uses simple-to-find ingredients.

  • Turkey Sausage – We love the Jenni-o turkey brand and if I can find the turkey sausage, I use that in this recipe. If you can’t find a good turkey sausage, use any kind of ground meat like ground turkey, spicy Italian sausage, sweet Italian sausage, ground chicken, or ground beef.
  • Olive Oil – I normally use extra-virgin olive oil.
  • Veggies – Some onions and garlic are used in the sauce. You could add extra veggies like some carrots and zucchini too.
  • Canned Goods – A combo of crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, and lower-sodium chicken broth.
  • Sugar and Seasonings – Just a pinch of sugar plus basil, Italian seasoning, kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper. I occasionally use some red pepper flakes for some heat.
  • Rigatoni – If you’d rather use a different pasta shape, that’s perfectly fine too.
  • Cheese – You’ll need some ricotta cheese and parmesan cheese. If you want to add extra cheese, fresh mozzarella cheese is always a nice addition.

How to make Baked Rigatoni with Ricotta:

Step 1
Cook turkey sausage. In a large pot over medium-high heat, add a drizzle of olive oil and the turkey sausage. Use a rubber spatula to break up the meat and cook until browned and completely cooked through. Remove the ground meat to a clean plate for later.

The browned turkey sausage in a stock pot.

Step 2
Make the marinara sauce.

  • In a large saucepan, sauté the onions in a little olive oil for 4-5 minutes over medium heat. When the onions are soft and translucent, add the garlic, seasonings, and tomato paste – and stir for another minute or so.
  • Then add all the tomatoes (crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, and tomato paste), the chicken broth, and sugar. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, and then reduce heat to a simmer.
  • Continue cooking the sauce for about 20-25 minutes, or until the sauce cooks down slightly. Test and add seasonings as needed.

Step 3
Cook pasta. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the rigatoni and a good amount of salt, and cook according to package directions or until the pasta is cooked to al dente. Strain pasta and reserve a little bit of pasta water.

A pot of boiled rigatoni pasta.

Step 4
Combine. Add the cooked sausage and pasta to the pot of marinara sauce and stir well. Spoon pasta into a baking dish.

Step 5
Top with cheese. Add dollops of ricotta cheese and shredded parmesan cheese to the top of pasta.

The rigatoni casserole prepped before baking.

Step 6
Bake. Bake pasta in a preheated 350-degree oven for approximately 30 minutes or until piping hot. The cooking time may vary if the pasta has been made ahead of time and refrigerated.

A casserole dish of baked rigatoni with dollops of ricotta cheese.

Storing and Freezing:

  • PREP AHEAD. You can prep this easy pasta dish in advance, refrigerate it, and then bake it later. Perfect to make on a busy night! 
  • STORE. Store the leftover baked pasta dish in an airtight container or a dish covered with aluminum foil. 
  • FREEZE. Freeze the unbaked pasta wrapped tightly in foil and then in a freezer bag for up to three months. Set frozen pasta in the refrigerator to thaw before baking.

​Recipe FAQs:

What are some substitutions for rigatoni?

Instead of rigatoni, you can use other tube-shaped pasta like ziti, penne, or paccheri.

Does ricotta cheese bake in the oven?

Ricotta cheese does not melt in the oven in the same way that mozzarella or cheddar cheese does. Ricotta cheese has a high moisture content, which means that it will become creamy and smooth when heated in the oven, but it will not melt and become stringy like other types of cheese.

What to serve with Baked Rigatoni:

For some other tasty pasta recipes, try our Beef and Cheese Manicotti, Creamy Chicken Orzo, or Baked Feta Pasta with Spinach.

A serving bowl of baked rigatoni pasta next to a casserole dish.

Kitchen Tools Used:

xoxo ~Sue

Closeu pon a bowl of baked rigatoni with ricotta cheese.

Baked Rigatoni with Ricotta

Baked Rigatoni with Ricotta combines lean turkey sausage, rigatoni pasta, homemade marinara sauce, and ricotta cheese. This simple pasta dish is creamy and delicious and will be a hit with the whole family!
5 from 3 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: American, Italian
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 611kcal
Author: Sue Ringsdorf

Ingredients

For the sauce:

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 large onion – diced
  • 2 cloves garlic – minced
  • 28 oz. crushed tomatoes
  • 15 oz. fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 3-4 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup lower-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper – to taste

Remaining ingredients:

  • 1 pound rigatoni pasta
  • 2 pound turkey sausage – or other sausage
  • 15 oz. ricotta cheese
  • 4 oz. parmesan cheese – freshly grated

Instructions

  • Cook turkey sausage. In a large pot over medium-high heat, add a drizzle of olive oil and the turkey sausage. Use a rubber spatula to break up the meat and cook until browned and completely cooked through. Remove the ground meat to a clean plate for later.
  • Make the marinara sauce.
    * In a large saucepan, sauté the onions in a little olive oil for 4-5 minutes over medium heat. When the onions are soft and translucent, add the garlic, seasonings, and tomato paste – and stir for another minute or so.
    * Then add all the tomatoes (crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, and tomato paste), the chicken broth, and sugar. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, and then reduce heat to a simmer.
    * Continue cooking the sauce for about 20-25 minutes, or until the sauce cooks down slightly. Test and add seasonings as needed.
  • Cook pasta. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the rigatoni and a good amount of salt, and cook according to package directions or until the pasta is cooked to al dente. Strain pasta and reserve a little bit of pasta water.
  • Combine. Add the cooked sausage and pasta to the pot of marinara sauce and stir well. Spoon pasta into a baking dish.
  • Top with cheese. Add dollops of ricotta cheese and shredded parmesan cheese to the top of pasta.
  • Bake. Bake pasta in a preheated 350-degree oven for approximately 30 minutes or until piping hot. The cooking time may vary if the pasta has been made ahead of time and refrigerated.
  • Serve with some fresh basil.

Notes

  • PREP AHEAD. You can prep this easy pasta dish in advance, refrigerate it, and then bake it later. Perfect to make on a busy night! 
  • STORE. Store the leftover baked pasta dish in an airtight container or a dish covered with aluminum foil. 
  • FREEZE. Freeze the unbaked pasta wrapped tightly in foil and then in a freezer bag for up to three months. Set frozen pasta in the refrigerator to thaw before baking.

Nutrition

Calories: 611kcal | Carbohydrates: 58g | Protein: 43g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 0.4g | Cholesterol: 122mg | Sodium: 1217mg | Potassium: 892mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 955IU | Vitamin C: 15mg | Calcium: 375mg | Iron: 4mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @Suebeehomemaker or tag #suebeehomemaker!

3 Comments

  1. Super easy and delicious recipe!

    1. Suebee Homemaker says:

      Thanks Josh!

  2. I love a simple pasta dish and this one tastes great.

5 from 3 votes (1 rating without comment)

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