This simple copycat Baked Rigatoni Cheesecake Factory recipe is a popular pasta bake that is the ultimate comfort food! This baked rigatoni dish has sausage, marinara sauce, and two distinct kinds of cheese. To create the perfect supper for the whole family, serve the rich and filling casserole alongside a Caesar salad and garlic bread. In addition to that, it’s an easy dish that you can prepare ahead of time.
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Cheesecake Factory Baked Rigatoni
Cheesecake Factory Baked Rigatoni is a popular Italian-American casserole dish prepared with rigatoni pasta and a tomato-based sauce from Naples. In Italy, rigatoni is a tube-shaped pasta with a variety of lengths and diameters. This pasta is somewhat curved, but not as curved as elbow macaroni. It is bigger than penne and ziti.
It is common practice to boil the pasta prior to making this Cheesecake Factory Baked Rigatoni dish. Toss the cooked pasta with the sauce and meat before layering it in a baking dish with mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses.
What Is Rigatoni Pasta Used For?
Rigatoni is a robust, tube-shaped pasta with ridges on the outside that help the sauce stick to the strands. Rigatoni is ideal for baked pasta meals and can withstand richer sauces like cream sauces or chunky tomato sauces. If you can’t locate rigatoni at your local supermarket, penne is an acceptable replacement.
What Is The Difference Between Rigatoni And Ziti?
Rigatoni and ziti appear to be the same at first glance, yet their sizes and textures are vastly different. For starters, the size of rigatoni differs from ziti. Zetti, on the other hand, tends to be longer, despite the rigatoni’s bigger hole. As the sauce adheres to the pasta, rigatoni has grooves, while ziti is usually smooth.
Those distinctions apart, we’re not fussy here. It’s quite acceptable to use penne or ziti instead of rigatoni in this Baked Rigatoni Cheesecake Factory recipe! The spaghetti bake will be just as good this time around. Make sure you follow the instructions on your individual box of penne or ziti for extremely al dente cooking.
Some brands of Rigatoni are larger and thicker than others, but they always have a distinctive ridged surface. The squared-off ends of spaghetti, as opposed to the round ones of penne, make this pasta ideal for thick meat sauces. In this recipe, Mezzi rigatoni, which is comparable in breadth but shorter than conventional rigatoni, might also work nicely.
Ingredients That You’ll Need:
For this simple Cheesecake Factory Baked Rigatoni dish, you’ll only need a few basic ingredients. The printed recipe box at the bottom of the post includes all of the necessary measurements and step-by-step directions.
- Rigatoni pasta: Use the full 1-pound package of dried pasta to make this recipe. I like the shorter “mezzi rigatoni” rigatoni over the longer “rigatoni” (and therefore easier to eat without cutting).
- Olive oil: to cook the sausage and onion.
- Italian sausage: Any flavor, whether sweet or hot, will do. Ground Italian sausage is available in pounds or in links, with the casings already removed.
- Onion: gives the dish a delicious taste However, you may use regular onion, such as a Vidalia if you like.
- Garlic and crushed red pepper flakes: Boost the sauce’s taste and spiciness.
- Marinara sauce: Consider purchasing an established brand from your local grocery shop as a convenient shortcut. Rao’s marinara is some of the best I’ve ever had.
- Fresh basil: Any tomato-based Italian recipe would be incomplete without this iconic ingredient. While nothing beats the flavor of fresh herbs, a spoonful of dried basil can do in a pinch.
- Kosher salt and black pepper: in order to enhance the dish’s other tastes. Adding salt to the pasta water is also a good idea.
- Mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese: The casserole’s taste is enhanced by the addition of two distinct kinds of cheese. There’s nothing better than extra cheese!
What Pasta Can You Use Instead Of Rigatoni?
Rigatoni may easily be replaced in most recipes with ziti, a traditional choice for baked pasta casseroles. Ziti is a pasta shape that is hollow within and smoothes on the outside. The form of the pasta is comparable to rigatoni, although it’s not nearly as hefty.
Make your Baked Rigatoni Cheesecake Factory up to 2 days ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator covered. Allow your Baked Rigatoni Cheesecake Factory to come to room temperature on the counter for at least 30-60 minutes before baking according to the recipe directions. If your Baked Rigatoni Cheesecake Factory is cold when it goes into the oven, you will most likely need to bake it for a few minutes longer.
How Long To Bake Cheesecake Factory Baked Rigatoni?
Your Baked Rigatoni Cheesecake Factory will take around 20 minutes to bake in a 400° oven. Because all of the ingredients in this recipe are already prepared, all you have to do is bake it until it’s hot, bubbling, and slightly crunchy on top. However, if you cook it for too long, the spaghetti will turn mushy and overcooked.
How To Make Baked Rigatoni Cheesecake Factory
- Preheat the oven to 400°F and place the oven rack in the center. Set aside a 9 x 13-inch baking dish that has been greased.
- Cook rigatoni according to package directions in a big saucepan of salted boiling water until very al dente. (Because it will continue to cook in the oven, undercook the pasta slightly.) Set aside after draining.
- Meanwhile, in a 12-inch cast iron pan or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.
- Cook until the sausage and onion is no longer pink, about 5-7 minutes. Cook for 30 seconds after adding the garlic.
- Combine both jars of marinara sauce, basil, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper in a mixing bowl.
- Simmer for 5-7 minutes over medium-low heat. Turn off the heat.
- Toss the cooked pasta with the sauce to mix.
- Spread the bottom of the prepared baking dish with half of the spaghetti mixture. Top with 1 cup of mozzarella and 1/4 cup of Parmesan.
- Top with the rest of the pasta mixture. Add the remaining 1 cup of mozzarella and 1/4 cup of Parmesan on top.
- Bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes, or until the Baked Rigatoni dish is hot and bubbling.
Baked Rigatoni Recipe Variations
- Don’t have any rigatoni pasta on-hand? Replace with penne or ziti pasta.
- Toss in the baby spinach while the sauce is still hot. It will quickly wilt and become a part of the dish.
- In place of Italian sausage, you can use a pound or two of ground beef or turkey. You may wish to increase the number of herbs and spices in the sauce to compensate for the loss of the sausage’s flavor-enhancing herbs and seasonings.
- Do you have a smaller family and want to cook for them? An 8-inch square baking dish is the ideal size for this rigatoni dish. Prepare the recipe as directed, then divide it into two 8-inch square portions before serving. You can eat one now, and save the other for another time.
What To Serve With Baked Rigatoni Cheesecake Factory?
Here are some good side dishes for Baked Rigatoni Cheesecake Factory:
How To Store Baked Rigatoni Cheesecake Factory?
If properly stored in an airtight container, the leftover Baked Rigatoni Cheesecake Factory can be kept in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
How To Freeze Baked Rigatoni Cheesecake Factory?
You may freeze your Baked Rigatoni Cheesecake Factory before or after it is baked. Assembling and freezing before baking ensures that the casserole will be of the highest quality. Your Baked Rigatoni Cheesecake Factory can keep for up to three months in the freezer if it is firmly wrapped. After it has been defrosted in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours, use the Make Ahead instructions above to prepare it.
How To Reheat Baked Rigatoni Cheesecake Factory?
Reheat your Baked Rigatoni cheesecake Factory leftovers in a 350°F oven for 25-30 minutes, or until they’re hot and ready to serve. Individual servings may be reheated in a microwave for one to two minutes on high power.
- My favorite pasta is “mezzi rigatoni,” which is shorter than standard rigatoni. You won’t have to chop your food as much!
- Because it will continue to cook in the oven, slightly undercook the pasta. You don’t want your rigatoni to be overcooked and mushy. My rigatoni, for example, calls for a cooking time of 12-14 minutes, so I boil it for 12 minutes.
- Cook the pasta in a single layer, with the lid off, at 350° for about A generous amount of sauce and cheese coats the baked rigatoni in this Cheesecake Factory recipe for Baked Rigatoni Cheesecake. Make sure you don’t overcook the casserole. The meal will just take around 15 minutes in the oven because all of the components are already cooked. Once it’s hot, bubbling, and crispy around the edges, it’s done.
- A hearty dish benefits greatly from the addition of fresh herbs. Garnishes such as parsley, basil, oregano, and thyme are some of my favorites. Parmesan shavings on top are also a nice addition!
Baked Rigatoni Cheesecake Factory Nutrition Facts
Amount Per Serving
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- Amount Per Serving
- Calories 353.6
- % Daily Value *
- Total Fat 12.2g19%
- Saturated Fat 4.8g24%
- Cholesterol 47mg16%
- Sodium 506.7mg22%
- Potassium 140.4mg5%
- Total Carbohydrate 36.9g13%
- Dietary Fiber 5.8g24%
- Sugars 4.5g
- Protein 22.4g45%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily value may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.