This creamy rigatoni with a rich and creamy white sauce and a delicious meat sauce combined for an absolutely delicious pasta recipe that is comfort food at its finest. Hearty, cheesy, and a favorite rigatoni pasta recipe you are sure to enjoy.
Creamy pasta – is there anything better? Not if you ask me! If you’ve been reading my blog for any amount of time, you can probably tell that I have a love affair with pasta. From bakes to alfredo and pretty much everything in between, I’m definitely a pasta girl. One of my favorite pasta recipes to make is this creamy beef rigatoni. I’ve been making this pasta recipe for just a little while now, and it is so good that we have made it quite a few times since. It is now a family favorite pasta recipe and I can’t wait to share it with all of you.
I love to serve this for family dinners because it can feed an entire table of people with more left over for the next day. It’s also a great dish to bring to potlucks because it stretches so far, and it’s absolutely loaded with all the flavors we love in any classic Italian dish. It’s one of the most versatile pasta dishes in my recipe rotation.
This delicious recipe starts with perfectly cooked, al dente rigatoni pasta. Then it’s mixed with a delicious, creamy pasta sauce that has just a bit of a kick from red pepper for some added interest. Finally, I combine it with ground beef, Italian sausage, and mozzarella cheese to create a rich, creamy, beefy, and cheesy pasta bake that everyone always comes back for more of.
Why You’ll Love This Creamy Rigatoni
- It’s a hearty, delicious pasta dish that’s loaded with flavor.
- It combines creamy white sauce and meat sauce and a ton of mozzarella cheese!
- It’s a favorite pasta recipe and so easy to make.
Creamy Rigatoni Tips and Variations
This is an easy recipe to make, but even easy recipes have some little tips that help make things even better. I’m sharing those with you today along with some variations that I think you’ll really enjoy.
- Never cook the pasta past al dente. You’ll be baking the dish after combining it, which will cook the pasta a bit more. You don’t want it to be too soft!
- Stir frequently – if not constantly – while making the cream sauce.
- Be sure to drain your beef and sausage mixture to prevent a greasy dish.
- For even more flavor, try substituting the ground beef for more Italian sausage.
- Use ground turkey and Italian turkey sausage.
- For a milder version, omit the red pepper flakes.
- Try adding diced bell peppers and mushrooms to the meat sauce for even more flavor.
Creamy Rigatoni FAQ
If you have questions about this creamy rigatoni, then read on. The following FAQ answers the most commonly asked questions about this recipe.
How long do you cook rigatoni?
In general, it’s best to follow the package directions to cook your rigatoni to al dente. However, if you don’t have the box for some reason, rigatoni tends to reach al dente after 10 to 14 minutes, depending on its size.
How do you know if pasta is al dente?
About 2 minutes before the recommended time on the package, take a bite of the pasta. If it’s tender enough to chew but still has some firmness and bite to it, it’s al dente.
How long will pasta last in the fridge?
Most pasta dishes will last for 4 to 5 days in the refrigerator.
Can you freeze pasta with sauce?
Absolutely. This creamy rigatoni freezes well and will last for up to 2 months in the freezer.
How to Store and Reheat Creamy Rigatoni
You can store this dish in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 days. For longer storage, freeze it in an air-tight, freezer-safe container for up to 2 months.
To reheat this pasta, place it in a baking dish, cover it, and bake it for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees until heated through.
Creamy Rigatoni Ingredients
This recipe uses only simple ingredients that you can find easily at your local grocery store.
- Mozzarella cheese
For the Meat Sauce
- Ground beef
- Ground Italian sausage
- Onion, diced
- Garlic powder
- Slap ya mama
- Black pepper
- Red pepper flakes
- Tomato sauce
- Tomato paste
For the Cream Sauce
- All-purpose flour
- Heavy whipping cream
- Parmesan cheese
- Pasta water
- Salt and pepper, to taste
How to Make Creamy Rigatoni
Making this recipe is just as simple as gathering up the ingredients. It’s a simple recipe that even beginners can make, involving just a bit of browning and some stirring. After that, you just layer and bake!
Step 1: Prep
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9×13 dish with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
Step 2: Cook the Pasta
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the pasta according to the package directions for al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water then drain pasta and set aside.
Step 3: Cook the Meat and Onions
In a large skillet or frying pan, cook the ground beef, Italian sausage, and onions over medium-high until the meat is no longer pink and the onions are tender. Drain and return the mixture to the pan.
Step 4: Add the Tomato Sauce and Paste
Sprinkle the meat and onion mixture with seasonings and stir. Then, pour the tomato sauce and tomato paste into the mixture. Then, stir to combine, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally.
Step 5: Make the Cream Sauce
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and stir in the flour. Then, add the heavy cream and stir until combined. Next, add the parmesan cheese and stir until melted and add salt and pepper. Finally, add the pasta water to the cheese sauce and stir.
Step 6: Add the Pasta
Add the pasta to the cheese sauce and stir to combine.
Step 7: Bake
Pour the pasta and cheese sauce into the baking dish. Then, add the meat mixture. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and bake uncovered for 20 minutes until the cheese is hot and bubbly. Serve with a side salad and garlic bread and enjoy!
Try This Delicious Creamy Rigatoni Recipe Today
This delicious creamy rigatoni bake combines the best of both pasta worlds into one amazing dish. A rich, creamy white sauce with pasta is layered with a thick, meaty red sauce, topped with mozzarella cheese, and then baked to golden, bubbly perfection. It doesn’t get much better than this one, folks! Give this recipe a try, and I know you’ll find yourself making it again and again. You’ll have to, or you might have a family revolt!
More Delicious Pasta Recipe You Will Enjoy
Cheesy Italian Sausage Pasta – This pasta recipe also uses Italian sausage and ground beef, and is a hearty dinner recipe that is quick to make. Super scrumptious and a favorite as well.
Bow Tie Pasta Lasagna – This delicious pasta recipe has all the classic flavors of homemade lasagna and uses bow tie pasta in place of lasagna noodles. Hearty and delicious.
Cheesy Hamburger Pasta – A super flavorful pasta recipe with deliciously seasoned ground beef, peppers and onions, sharp cheddar cheese and penne pasta. Easy and delicious.
And, here is an Easy One Pot Goulash, from Deliciously Seasoned, that you might enjoy as well.
For the Meat Sauce
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 pound ground Italian sausage
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon slap ya mama
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- (2) 15 ounce cans tomato sauce
- 12 ounce can tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon basil
For the Creamy White Sauce
- ½ cup butter
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 16 ounce heavy cream
- 6 ounce shredded Parmesan cheese
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- ½ cup pasta water
- 16 ounce box Rigatoni pasta
- 2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
- Preheat oven to 350° and spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook pasta per package directions for al dente. Reserve ½ cup of pasta water, then drain pasta and set aside.
- In a large skillet or frying pan, over medium high heat, cook ground beef, Italian sausage and onions until meat is not longer pink and onions are tender. Drain and return to pan.
- Sprinkle with seasonings, stir.
- Pour tomato sauce and tomato paste into the meat mixture. Stir to combine, cover and let simmer, stirring occasionally.
- In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, melt butter and then stir in flour.
- Pour heavy whipping cream and stir until combine.
- Add Parmesan cheese, stir until melted and add salt and pepper.
- Add pasta water to cheese sauce, stir.
- Add cooked pasta to cheese sauce, stir to combine.
- Pour pasta and cheese sauce into prepared baking dish followed by ground beef mixture on top.
- Sprinkle with shredded cheese and bake uncovered for 20 minutes or until the cheese is hot and bubbly.
- Serve with a side salad and garlic bread.
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