Easy Rigatoni Bake with Pesto and Ricotta | Veg For Din

Easy Rigatoni Bake with Pesto and Ricotta

This rigatoni bake with pesto and ricotta is so easy to make! It’s made up of creamy pesto ricotta, vodka sauce, mozzarella and topped with buttery Ritz cracker crumb for added texture and deliciousness.

Rigatoni Bake

This is the ultimate comfort food with a creamy, cheesy and melty forkful with a little crunch from the buttery Ritz crumb topping. Drool. Treat yourself it’s all about moderation right? Serve with a side salad and you’re good to go!

Pasta is one of my favorite dinner meals, especially rigatoni because the ridges hold on to the sauce very well so that every bite is packed with flavor.

With only 8 ingredients this rigatoni bake is super simple to make. I used jarred pesto to save on time but if you have the ingredients on hand and extra time then homemade pesto would be great too.

Rigatoni Bake

Ingredients for Rigatoni Bake with Pesto and Ricotta

  • Rigatoni – Cook until al dente to prevent being overcooked in the oven. You could use any type of pasta here but as I mentioned earlier, rigatoni hold on to sauce really well.
  • Pesto – Jarred is easier but you could use homemade pesto instead if you have the extra time.
  • Ricotta – The ricotta will be mixed with the pesto to make a creamy pesto sauce for the rigatoni bake.
  • Pink Salt – I like using pink Himalayan salt because it has more of a mineral content than table salt.
  • Ritz Crackers – One sleeve is used for this recipe but you can enjoy the extra by making one of my favorite snacks: peanut butter and Ritz cracker sandwiches!
  • Butter – I use salted butter. Three tablespoons will be added to a skillet to crisp up the Ritz cracker crumbs.
  • Vodka Sauce – The creamy tomato flavor of vodka sauce is my favorite but go ahead and use regular marinara sauce if you prefer.
  • Fresh Mozzarella – I use the 8oz ball of fresh mozzarella because it melts better then bagged shredded mozzarella. I just shred the cheese into small pieces with my fingers.
  • Fresh Basil – totally optional as it is only used as a garnish but gives more color to the dish and adds a nice fresh pop of flavor.

How to make Rigatoni Bake with Pesto and Ricotta

1. Preheat oven: Preheat oven to 350°F

2. Boil rigatoni: Boil the pasta according to the package instructions until al dente.

3. Make the pesto ricotta sauce: While the pasta boils, mix the pesto and ricotta into a small bowl and add the pink salt. set aside.

4. Make the Ritz cracker topping: Place a sleeve of Ritz crackers into a medium bowl and crush the crackers with your fingers. Add 3 tablespoons of butter to a skillet, melt and add the Ritz crackers. Mix around until the Ritz crackers are covered in butter and start lightly browning. Set aside.

5. Mix rigatoni with pesto ricotta sauce: Once the rigatoni is ready, strain it and place back into the pot. Add the pesto and ricotta mix. Stir until evenly coated.

Pesto Ricotta Sauce

6. Assemble Rigatoni Bake: Spread 1 cup of vodka sauce evenly to the bottom of a 9×9 casserole dish. Add half of the rigatoni pasta on top followed by another cup of vodka sauce and half of the shredded mozzarella. Add the rest of the rigatoni, remaining sauce and mozzarella. Top with Ritz cracker crumbs.

7. Bake: Bake in the oven for 35 minutes.

8. Serve: Let cool for 10 minutes before serving and garnish with basil. Enjoy!

Easy Rigatoni Bake with Pesto and Ricotta

More vegetarian dinner recipes to try:

Rigatoni Bake

Easy Rigatoni Bake with Pesto and Ricotta

This rigatoni bake with pesto and ricotta is so quick and easy to make! The pesto ricotta rigatoni is layered with vodka sauce, mozzarella and topped with buttery Ritz cracker crumb for added texture and deliciousness.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Course Main Course
Servings 8 servings
Calories 570 kcal

Ingredients
  

Pesto + Ricotta Mix

  • 6 oz pesto jarred or homemade
  • 1 cup ricotta
  • ¼ tsp pink salt or sea salt

Ritz Cracker Topping

  • 1 sleeve Ritz crackers crushed
  • 3 tbsp butter

Rigatoni Bake with Pesto and Ricotta

  • 16 oz rigatoni
  • pesto + ricotta mix
  • 24 oz vodka sauce jarred
  • 8 oz fresh mozzarella shredded
  • Ritz cracker topping
  • basil garnish

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Boil rigatoni according to package instructions.
  • In the meantime, mix the pesto and ricotta into a small bowl and add the pink salt. set aside.
  • Make the Ritz cracker crumb topping: Place a sleeve of Ritz crackers into a medium bowl and crush the crackers with your fingers.
  • Add 3 tablespoons of butter to a skillet, melt and add the Ritz crackers. Mix around until the Ritz crackers are covered in butter and start lightly browning. Set aside.
  • Once the rigatoni is ready, strain it and place back into the pot. Add the pesto and ricotta mix. Stir until evenly coated.
  • Spread 1 cup of vodka sauce evenly to the bottom of a 9×9 casserole dish. Add half of the rigatoni pasta on top followed by another cup of vodka sauce and half of the shredded mozzarella. Add the rest of the rigatoni, remaining sauce and mozzarella. Top with Ritz cracker crumbs.
  • Bake in the oven for 35 minutes.
  • Let cool for 10 minutes before serving and garnish with basil. Enjoy!
Keyword bake, easy, pesto, ricotta, rigatoni

Did you try this recipe? Leave a comment below and let me know how you made out. Share your photo on Instagram by tagging @vegfordin and #vegfordin.

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