Loretta Sebastiani

Loretta Sebastiani
logo twitter   logo facebook   loco pinterest

Baked Neapolitan macaroni
( Rigatoni Napoletani al forno )

Our original home cooking

Baked pasta is a delicious tradition in our Italian homes. I've prepared this recipe with Neapolitan rigatoni for many years with excellent results in the opinion of people who have tasted it. It's especially tasty and inviting with meatballs in tomato sauce, ham and mozzarella.

difficulty: medium

time: 1 h 40 minutes

calories: 691 (kCal)

Ingredients / Serves 6

  • 500g (1.1 pound) Neapolitan macaroni (rigatoni)
  • 3 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 600g (1 1/3 pound) puréed tomatoes
  • 150ml (5 fluid ounces - 1 1/3 cup) red wine
  • 1 tablespoon dried chives
  • 1 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 1 teaspoon dried tarragon
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 2 tablespoons plain dried breadcrumbs
  • 100g (3 1/2 ounces) cotto ham, sliced
  • 250g (8 3/4 ounces) mozzarella cheese, grated
  • Grated Parmesan, if you like
  • Salt
  • For little meatballs
  • 400g (14 ounces) turkey or veal meat, minced
  • 60g (2 ounces) plain dried breadcrumbs
  • 1 tablespoon dried chives
  • 1 tablespoon fresh (or frozen) parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 egg
  • Salt
medium difficulty
preparation: 40 minutes
cooking: 60 minutes
total: 1 h 40 minutes
How many calories in a serving?
Calories: 691 (kcal) 35 % - 2893 (kJ)
Protein: 40.2 (g) 81 % GDA
Total fat: 25.8 (g) 37 % GDA
Total carbohydrate: 79.6 (g) 30 % GDA
Sugars: 7.5 (g) 9 % GDA

Download free PDF version (222 download).

Recipe for baked Neapolitan macaroni

Preparation and cooking

  • - Prepare meatballs.
    Add all ingredients in a bowl: minced meat, aromatic herbs, soy sauce, egg and 4 tablespoons plain dried breadcrumbs.
    Season to taste with salt and knead by your hands.
    Your dough must be soft.
    Prepare olive-shaped meatballs with it.
    You have to dip them into plain dried breadcrumbs and arrange in a large pan with 3 tablespoons of olive oil.
  • - Prepare pasta sauce.
    Let meatballs fry lightly over a gentle heat for few minutes, stirring very carefully with a wooden spoon.
    Remove your pan from heat.
    Add puréed tomatoes, bay leaf, marjoram and wine.
    Season to taste with salt and continue cooking over a gentle heat, without water, until wine is evaporated.
    You must not cook the sauce for a long time!
    Once turned off the stove, add tarragon and chives too. Stir very well.
  • - Meanwhile cook macaroni in a large kettle of salted boiling water until al dente stage.
    Be careful! don't cook pasta too much, you have to bake it too!
    Drain macaroni and toss with half the sauce and Parmesan cheese, if you like.
  • - Before baking.
    Preheat oven to 200°C (400°F).
    Grease a shallow ovenproof dish with the remaining olive oil and sprinkle with plain dried breadcrumbs.
    Arrange a first layer of pasta.
    Cover with some pasta sauce, cotto ham slices and mozzarella cheese (Parmesan cheese too, if you like).
    Then make another layer of pasta and continue until all the ingredients are used up but put apart some mozzarella cheese and sauce for the top.
  • - Bake for 15-20 minutes or until mozzarella cheese is well melted.

Just before serving

  • - Wait for some minutes before serving.



  • - Some years ago I used to cube mozzarella cheese but then I learnt it's better to grate it ;)
  • - Another tip: cut cotto ham into strips. It's easier to make more regular portions.
  • - You can prepare your pasta in the baking pan in advance and complete your dish by baking just before serving. It's very useful when you have guests.

Menu planning

  • - Baked rigatoni, as all elaborated pasta dishes, is particularly rich in calories and total fat and you should choose it only under special circumstances. It's certainly an exception to the rule! But it's very tasty and a valid choice for a full menu to celebrate an important occasion. In this case it serves more people. You should halve every portion.
  • - If, despite everything I've just written, you want to prepare it for your family menu it should be one-plate meal. You could add some raw seasonal vegetables if still hungry. Complete your meal with fresh fruit.
  • - Well, it's time now to show you two full menu ideas.
    You can find the first in the page dedicated to fruit tart. It's a full menu, Italy-style from starter to dessert. A menu dedicated to guests of all ages.
    But on a birthday occasion with lots of food connoisseurs at my table I planned the menu that I'm going to share with you. I prepared an assorted platter of appetizers: fried filled olives, cherry tomatoes (halved and filled with chopped anchovies and parsley), Tuscan crostini, caponata and a vegetable flan. Choose the right vegetable according to the season. Here are some examples. In winter and fall turnip top and prawn flans or cauliflower mini flans. In spring zucchini flower flans (my choice in that occasion!). All year round lentil mini frittatas. Then I served my baked macaroni in the portions suggested here and to close my menu a fantastic cherry tart. But you could also choose a fruit tart in spring, an apple tart in winter, castagnaccio (chestnut cake) in fall. Consult our cake index for other ideas.

Healthy eating

  • - Look at the nutrition facts of baked macaroni, before choosing it. It's rich in calories, fat and protein.
    You can't put this recipe in your everyweek plan, do you agree?
    The situation is very different if you do a lot of physical activity and you can follow a daily diet over 2000 kCal
  • - I calculated nutrition facts with all the ingredients except Parmesan


What's the right wine for " Baked Neapolitan macaroni "?

Match Dolcetto d'Asti (red wine from Piedmont) or another red wine to baked macaroni.