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Baked Rigatoni with Roasted Summer Vegetables is a great way to use up the abundance of late-summer produce from your garden. Picky vegetable-eater approved too!
Our backyard garden is bursting with vegetables to pick as the summer growing season winds down. I can’t think of a better way to enjoy all of them than this Baked Rigatoni with Roasted Summer Vegetables!
This hearty dish is true Italian comfort food, perfect for a meatless meal. Fresh zucchini, eggplant, onions, mushrooms, red bell pepper and garlic are all roasted in the oven, before being added to cooked rigatoni pasta, fresh mozzarella, Parmesan cheese and a homemade tomato sauce.
This casserole is baked to heat through until the top cheese is melted and golden brown. Then it’s ready to serve.
Why you’ll love Baked Rigatoni with Roasted Summer Vegetables
- It’s a great way to feed a hungry crowd – or cook once, then enjoy leftovers for a few days.
- Even picky eaters will love this pasta casserole – and mom and dad can feel good that it’s loaded with lots of vegetables.
- Use any variety of vegetable in this dish. Summer vegetables are especially good.
Key ingredients and Substitutions
- Garden vegetables – We included fresh garden vegetables such as eggplant, zucchini, onions, bell pepper, mushrooms and garlic. You can swap in other vegetables to suit your tastes or based on what you have on hand.
- Pasta – We used ‘Mezzi Rigatoni’ which are smaller-sized rigatoni. Any firm heavy-walled pasta will work in this dish including full-sized rigatoni or ziti.
- Tomato sauce – We prepared a homemade Italian Tomato Sauce, but for convenience, feel free to use your favorite jarred sauce.
- Fresh mozzarella cheese – You can substitute the already-shredded, bagged mozzarella cheese in this dish, but the fresh slices of mozzarella cheese add a creamy, stringy texture once it is baked.
- Parmesan cheese – Choose an aged Parmesan cheese cut from a wheel (we never recommend using the jarred variety) and shred it yourself. You can substitute Romano cheese if that is what you have on hand.
- Fresh basil – This fresh herb is sprinkled over the top as a garnish – but basil will also add delicious flavor too. You can omit if desired.
Special supplies needed
- 9x13x3-inch deep casserole dish or baking pan
- Sheet trays to roast the vegetables
- Pots and saucepans – to cook the pasta and sauce
How do I make Baked Rigatoni with Roasted Summer Vegetables?
- Prepare the tomato sauce according to these directions. If using jarred, heat in a saucepan.
- Cut the vegetables into large chunks, toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast in a hot oven.
- Cook the rigatoni, just shy of al dente. Save a few cups of pasta water, then drain the pasta.
- Assemble the casserole by layering sauce, pasta, roasted vegetables, mozzarella and Parmesan cheese in the baking dish.
- Bake until heated through and bubbly. The cheese should also be melted.
- Place under a broiler to brown the top of the casserole, if desired, then serve.
Chef’s Tip –
Everything should be hot when assembling to shorten the baking. Otherwise, the pasta will get overcooked if the other ingredients are cool before baking.
Frequently asked Questions
Can I make this Baked Rigatoni ahead of time? You can prepare each ingredient (sauce, roasted vegetables, cooked pasta) ahead of time, then heat each, assemble and bake.
How do I store leftovers? Cover and store in the refrigerator.
How do I reheat leftovers? We find that reheating portions in the microwave works best. But you can place the baking dish back in the oven if you prefer – just note that the top of the pasta might dry out and overcook.
You may enjoy these other baked pasta recipes:
- Four Cheese Baked Manicotti
- Baked Feta Pasta
- Classic Lasagna
- Baked Rigatoni with Italian Sausage and Meatballs
- Perfect Macaroni and Cheese
Tomato sauce (see our homemade recipe here or use two 24-ounce jars of your favorite sauce)
1 large eggplant, skin left on and ends trimmed off
1 medium to large zucchini, ends trimmed
1 large sweet onion, peeled
1 large red bell pepper, stemmed and seeded
1 8-ounce package white button mushrooms
2 large garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
12 ounces Mezzi Rigatoni (or your favorite shaped pasta such as regular Rigatoni or Ziti)
¼ cup fresh Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 pound fresh mozzarella (shred one cup and cube the rest)
1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
10 leaves fresh basil, cut into strips/chiffonade (stack leaves, roll like a cigar and slice from one end to the other)
If using a homemade tomato sauce, prepare that first. If using jarred, heat in a pot and keep hot for assembling the dish.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F,
Line two sheet trays with foil.
Cut the eggplant, zucchini, onion and bell pepper into large chunks, 1-2 inches in size. Place into a large bowl.
Clean and cut the mushrooms in half or quartered depending on the size and add to the bowl.
Add the chopped garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper and toss to coat then divide evenly between the two prepared pans.
Roast for 15 minutes, toss the vegetables, turn and rotate the pans and bake for 15 minutes more. Remove from oven once roasted and reduce the oven to 350 degrees F.
While the vegetables are roasting, time the pasta so that it is done just as the vegetables come out of the oven. The pasta should still be a bit chewy; it will bake longer in the oven.
Save two cups of the pasta water and return the drained pasta to the pot along with the chopped parsley and three cups of the hot tomato sauce and the two cups of the hot pasta water then stir and heat to hot. Keep the burner on low until you are ready to assemble.
Spray the sides of a 9x13x3-inch casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray.
In a small bowl, toss the one cup of shredded mozzarella with the cup of grated Parmesan cheese and set aside.
Pour two cups of hot tomato sauce on the bottom of the prepared baking dish.
Spread one-third of the hot pasta mixture over the sauce and top with half of the hot roasted vegetables and half of the cubed mozzarella cheese.
Top that with another third of the hot pasta mixture, the rest of the hot vegetables and the rest of the cubed mozzarella cheese.
Finish with the remaining hot pasta mixture and the remaining hot tomato sauce. Then sprinkle on the shredded mozzarella and grated Parmesan.
Bake for 30 minutes then place under the broiler to brown the top.
Let rest ten minutes, sprinkle on the basil and serve.
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