Baked Rigatoni with Roasted Vegetables

December 20, 2019

There is one dish that I’m never worried about serving to a large crowd: baked pasta. 

Whether it’s an impressive lasagna, layered with flakes of Parmesan and creamy béchamel, or baked cauliflower shells, gilded with a crispy breadcrumb topping, I know I can rely on the combination of cheese and carbs to deliver epic results. 

When it comes to the season of holiday-induced stress, I need something I can rely on. 

Baked Rigatoni with Roasted Vegetables is the saucy, cheesy, hearty vegetarian main dish that I’ll be serving for Christmas dinner (among other, porkier things).

It has nearly triple the amount of vegetables as pasta, and about half the amount of cheese compared to typical baked ziti recipes. 

I prefer rigatoni in this dish instead of ziti because it has little ridges that help soak up the sauce. 

I spend more time thinking about the best ways to soak up marinara sauce than I’d care to admit.

A white plate with baked rigatoni and roasted vegetables on it.

To be honest, you’ll really be eating Roasted Vegetables with Baked Rigatoni rather than a true baked pasta dish, but I promise you won’t notice.

Uncle Joe definitely won’t notice.

So even though this is lighter and more vegetable-heavy than your typical baked pasta recipe, there is still no reason to worry about serving it to a crowd. 

Aaand exhale.

Let’s make baked rigatoni with roasted vegetables

First, you’ll roast a rainbow of vegetables on your biggest sheet pan. 

I like the combination of broccoli, red bell pepper, and mushrooms because it reminds me of a good veggie pizza. Choose whatever roast-able vegetables you like. 

Overhead shot of a sheet pan with mushrooms, red pepper, and broccoli on it.

This would be great with cauliflower, zucchini, even spinach or kale. Just make sure you sauté or blanch the greens before adding them to the rigatoni.

Then you’ll make the ricotta filling- ricotta enriched with heavy cream- and you’ll have a hard time resisting the urge to eat it all straight from the bowl and forget about the whole baked rigatoni thing. 

Two bowls with ricotta filling- ricotta, heavy cream, parsley, and parmesan cheese

Yeah, back to that:

Layer the roasted vegetables and rigatoni with the ricotta filling and store-bought marinara sauce (Merry Christmas), bake it under a blanket of fresh mozzarella cheese, and wait patiently as members of your family descend upon your kitchen and ask: “What smells so good?”

Layers of baked rigatoni with roasted vegetables in a white dish.

Baked pasta is not only a guaranteed crowd-pleaser; it’s also a great way to bring people together.

Even if it’s over the smell of marinara sauce, bubbling under a dome of melted cheese.

Baked Rigatoni with Roasted Vegetables

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (8 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
By Samantha Serves: 6-8
Prep Time: 15 minutes Cooking Time: 1 hour Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Triple the amount of vegetables as pasta, about half the amount of cheese compared to typical baked ziti recipes, and plenty of sauce to go around. The perfect vegetarian main dish for Christmas dinner.


  • For the roasted vegetables
  • 6-8 cups broccoli (about 1.5lbs total), cut into bite-sized florets
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into 1″ pieces
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, torn or cut into 1″ pieces
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • For the ricotta filling
  • One 15-ounce tub whole-milk ricotta
  • ½ cup finely grated Parmesan or Pecorino, plus more for grating on top
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • Pasta/Assembly
  • 4 cups of your favorite store-bought marinara sauce (about 1 32-ounce jar)
  • 8 ounces rigatoni, ziti, penne, manicotti or other short, tubelike pasta
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/2-inch cubes



Roast the vegetables: Preheat the oven to 425F. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or foil, or two smaller baking sheets, just make sure there’s enough room on the pan for all of the vegetables to lay evenly. Scatter the broccoli, bell pepper, and mushrooms on the pan and drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking. Roast until the vegetables are tender and nicely browned on the edges, about 25 minutes. Set vegetables aside and leave the oven at 425F.


Prepare the ricotta filling: In a medium bowl, combine ricotta, ½ cup Parmesan, heavy cream, and fresh parsley. Season with salt and pepper, taste, and set aside.


Prepare the pasta: Place a large pot of salted water to boil on the stove.


Cook pasta until it’s very al dente, about 3 minutes less than package directions. It will cook a lot more in the oven, so it should still have a bite to it. Drain pasta and rinse with cool water to stop the cooking and keep it very al dente.


Place pasta back in the pot and add 2 cups tomato sauce. Stir to coat pasta evenly.


Spoon a bit of remaining sauce on the bottom of a 2-quart baking dish and top with 1/3 of the pasta. Spoon 1/3 of the remaining sauce on top, followed by half of the roasted vegetables, then half of the ricotta mixture. Repeat- ⅓ of the pasta, ⅓ of the sauce, last of the vegetables and ricotta. For the final layer, add the last 1/3 of pasta and the last of the sauce. Dot mozzarella on top and sprinkle a bit more Parmesan on top of that. Place baking dish on top of a sheet pan lined with parchment paper to catch any drips. Place in the oven and bake until the edges are golden brown and bubbling and the top has browned nicely, 25 to 30 minutes.


Let cool about 10 minutes before eating. I know, it’s hard to resist.


  • 521 Calories


If you don't like broccoli, red peppers, and/or mushrooms, choose whatever roast-able vegetables you like. This would be great with cauliflower, zucchini, even spinach or kale. Just make sure you sauté or blanch the greens before adding them to the rigatoni. If you don't have a 2-quart baking dish, you can assemble this in an oven-safe pot, such as a Dutch oven. To double this recipe: use the same amount of vegetables and ricotta, increase the amount of sauce to 6 cups, double the amount of pasta to 16 ounces, and double the amount of mozzarella to 16 ounces. Use a 3-quart baking dish instead of a 2-quart.

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    Baked Rigatoni with Roasted Vegetables — American Home Cook | My Meals are on Wheels
    December 23, 2019 at 11:26 pm

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