This is a delicious and easy Italian pasta bake that is quick to prepare and make. I’ve made this recipe many times and it’s a favorite in our family. My recipe is meatless, but you can add precooked meat to it as well to add even more flavor.
I used to think this dish would be hard to make, but I have to admit it is probably one of the quickest and easiest dishes I’ve made! It is great for taking a dish to a party or friends house.
How to Make an Easy Italian Pasta Bake
The general idea here is cook the pasta half way, mix it with all the other ingredients then bake at 350F covered for 30 to 45 minutes or until done.
Sound pretty simple? Well, that’s because it is. Just watch my video below. If you’ve never made it before, you need to give it a try!
You’ll need very few ingredients for this pasta bake. All you need are the following:
- 1 lb rigatoni pasta (or other short pasta tube). Avoid non-tube varieties.
- Tomato or pasta sauce – you can use store bought or make your own homemade pasta sauce from cans of tomato sauce.
- Whole milk ricotta cheese
- Lots of chopped garlic – I use 5 cloves
- Grated Romano cheese. If you don’t have Romano, use Parmesan.
What Type of Italian Cheese
This really comes down to personal preference. I’m a crazy fan of Romano cheese so most of my Italian recipes that call for cheese use it. However if you have Parmesan cheese that can be substituted.
Some people like to use mozzarella in their baked pasta, I do not. It’s too stringy and doesn’t add anything to the flavor. However, if you prefer it with mozzarella then go for it! I recommend at least using a blend of cheese.
How to Freeze Italian Baked Pasta
I recommend that you freeze any leftovers. I freeze my pasta in a freezer bag and flatten it so it lays flat. Remove as much air as possible.
The Italian pasta bake will store in the freezer for up to 6 months. It will keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days in an air tight container.
When you take the leftovers out of the freezer, simply do so the night before and let it thaw in the refrigerator. Reheat covered at 350F for 30 minutes until heated through.
Top with some extra sauce (spaghetti sauce is one of my favorites), especially on the corners so they don’t dry out. Even if they do it is still delicious.
Watch my video to see how easy it really is!
Easy Italian Pasta Bake
- 1 lb Rigatoni pasta or other short tube pasta Paste alimentari
- 32 oz. tomato/pasta sauce salsa di pomodoro
- 15 oz. ricotta cheese formaggio di ricotta
- 5 cloves chopped garlic aglio
- 2 Cups grated Romano cheese romano formaggio
- pinch salt sale
- Add a pinch of salt to the water and bring to a boil
- Add the pasta (I’ve used either rigatoni or mezzi rigatoni. Mezzi rigatoni means 1/2 size. )
- Cook for just over 1/2 the normal time (About 7 minutes – depends on pasta type). You do not want the pasta to reach al dente because it will continue cooking in the oven.
- Drain the pasta
- Put one scoop of pasta sauce on the bottom of the pan
- Add a layer of pasta (there will only be two layers)
- Put a layer of sauce to sufficiently cover the pasta. The pasta will absorb the sauce.
- Put a layer of ricotta. I used about 3/4 of the cheese.
- Mix all together.
- Add rest of pasta, then sauce, then remainder of the ricotta plus the romano cheese. Make sure all edges are covered with sauce otherwise they will be dry on the edges.
- Mix all togehter again, sprinkling the garlic around.
- Cover the pan with foil and bake at 350F for 30-45 minutes. You can tell when it is done when the sauce in the pan is bubbling up from the bottom and the taste test says so!
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