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Weeknight Dinner: Baked Rigatoni

Today I'm sharing a make-ahead weeknight meal that comes together in 40 minutes. Ina Garten's baked rigatoni with lamb ragù is hearty and comforting; a satisfying dinner after a long day at work.

Ground lamb is seasoned with fennel seeds, crushed red pepper, and dried oregano. If lamb isn't your thing, you could substitute ground turkey or chicken. Chopped fennel bulb and carrots are cooked down, adding depth to the sauce. I left the onions out for my dad (the man hates onions, which sometimes makes cooking difficult).

This recipe could easily serve 9-12 people. If you're cooking for a smaller group, divide the rigatoni between smaller baking dishes and freeze, creating multiple meals for the future. When ready to eat, thaw the rigatoni in the fridge overnight then leave on the counter while your oven preheats.

Serve a mixed green salad with Ina Garten's creamy mustard vinaigrette. Make the dressing while the rigatoni is baking. Pour the dressing in the bottom of a serving bowl and top with salad greens. Toss right before serving. I used 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise to help emulsify the dressing. You could also use a room temperature egg yolk. I only used 1/3 of the salt called for in Ina's recipe.


Creamy Mustard Vinaigrette

From Barefoot Contessa Family Style

3 tablespoons champagne or white wine vinegar

1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon mayonnaise

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

1/2 cup olive oil

In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, mustard, garlic, mayonnaise, salt, and pepper. While whisking, slowly add the olive oil until the vinaigrette is emulsified.

Toss the greens with enough dressing to moisten and serve immediately.


Get the Look:

I usually keep the table setting simple and casual for a family dinner. Woven placemats, block print napkins, and everyday white china. We've been enjoying unseasonably warm weather in Atlanta and were able to eat dinner on the screened porch. I couldn't resist picking up beautiful and fragrant cobalt blue hyacinth from my Whole Foods.


Thanks for reading!

- Sam


William Long
William Long
Jun 05, 2022

It freezes really well too, just ate the leftovers LOL


Feb 27, 2022

LOVE the look! And using fresh mozzarella on the rigatoni takes your dish over the top!

Mar 09, 2022
Replying to

Thank you!!

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