Baked Caprese Rigatoni

Baked caprese rigatoni with tomatoes, basil, and Mozzarella in a pan.

Cheese. Basil. Tomato. In that order.

It’s summer and one of my favorite things about summer is basil.

My other favorite thing is the farmer’s market. Grab me a latte, put on my shades, pick out some pretty looking veggies, take a few pictures, enjoy the smell of freshly baked stuff, and drive right on home in my air conditioned SUV.

Yep. I loooove the farmer’s market.

Tomatoes in a white dish.

My market experience here could not be more opposite.

I go at 5:45am (it’s become a pit stop on my morning run, because I stand NO chance of walking that far in the heat anytime after 7am), so you can imagine what a jewel I look like: no trendy shades, no latte, no nice camera. Just me and my stinky, sweaty self trying to dig a few coins out of the pocket of my running shorts.

I secretly plug my nose as I walk through because the smells are overwhelming: raw fish, raw meat (and I mean raw, whole-animal meat), some kind of egg smell, and my own mid-run smell. I keep a sharp eye out for cockroaches and try not to walk within 10 feet of a butcher. On a typical day, I get hit in the head by a few massive falling shade umbrellas. I wipe streams of sweat out of my eyes as I pay for my produce, which I then run home with {cute} and bleach.

Honest truth: I sorely miss my old farmer’s market.

But hey. In place of freshly baked treats, I can buy sticky coconut rice wrapped in banana leaves, and in place of my cozy latte, I have new market vendor friends. Sort of. In place of my fancy camera, I can use my eyes and my memory, and in place of the comfort my SUV, I have my own two feet that can carry me home just fine.

Every day feels a little more normal.

Baked caprese rigatoni with tomatoes, basil, and Mozzarella in a pan.

Not to change the subject or anything, but I’m starting to turn into a full-blown tomato because I can’t.stop.eating.the.cheese. I mean, the tomatoes. I mean, the whole thing. The whole cheesy shebang of saucy rigatoni, fresh tomatoes, fresh basil, and ch-ch-ch-ch-cheese in this baked caprese rigatoni.

By now, I hope that you have not read any of this post and you have been scrolling straight down to the recipe.

I don’t really hope that, but please.

Put this on your table. ASAP.

Baked caprese rigatoni in a pan and on a fork.

Baked Caprese Rigatoni


  • Author: Pinch of Yum
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 10 mins
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 8

Description

This baked caprese rigatoni has lots of fresh tomatoes, basil, and Mozzarella. Simple ingredients baked to pasta perfection.


Ingredients

  • 1 lb. uncooked rigatoni
  • 6 small fresh tomatoes, diced
  • 1 12-ounce can crushed or diced tomatoes
  • 2 1/2 cups your favorite jarred tomato sauce
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, torn or sliced into ribbons
  • ½ block grated cheese
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Instructions

  1. Cook rigatoni according to directions on package. Drain and set aside. Preheat broiler.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Saute onion and garlic over medium high heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring so the garlic doesn’t burn. Add crushed tomatoes and fresh tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper and simmer for 5-10 minutes or until mixture thickens slightly. Add half of the basil and stir for 1 minute. Remove from heat and add to the pasta. Pour in tomato sauce and stir to combine (and you can add more sauce until it’s saucy enough for you if you). Pour into a baking dish or skillet.
  3. Top with shredded cheese and place under broiler for 5-8 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly. Sprinkle with remaining fresh basil and serve.

Notes

I used all three types of tomatoes because I like them all and I wanted all the different textures in the sauce. You could easily omit one and replace it with more of another depending on what you have on hand or how you like the texture.

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One thing that holds true in my Filipino life: I LOVE FRIDAYS. Oh, happy day.

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