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Cheesy Sausage Rigatoni

Pasta with marinara and ground sausage
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I love to make this Cheesy Sausage Rigatoni recipe for special occasions, I made it for our Christmas dinner this year. You can’t beat the hearty marinara, spicy sausage, and melted fresh mozzarella cheese. This is one of my husband’s favorite meals, and it comes together so easily. The layering process reminds me of lasagna, but this recipe is so much simpler.

The ingredients for Cheesy Sausage Rigatoni are super simple and readily available at your local grocery store. The whole recipe comes together in about an hour, total. I have been making this dish for about five years, and it turns our perfectly every time. It is truly restaurant-quality fare, you won’t be disappointed!

To begin, cook 1 pound of Rigatoni pasta according to package instructions, being sure not to over-cook. My pasta was done in 11 minutes, and perfectly al dente.

The seasonings and sauce come together nicely for the perfect savory marinara with a hint of spice. I love the Pizza, Pasta Magic Seasoning, but if you can’t find it, just add a little extra crushed red pepper, and a pinch each of dried oregano and basil.

Preparing the Sauce

To prepare the sauce, heat 1 Tbsp of Extra Virgin Olive Oil over medium heat. Add diced onion and minced garlic cloves. Saute 2-3 minutes, until translucent.

Add ground Italian sausage, and crumble the meat while browning. Add 1 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp ground black pepper.

Keep working to crumble all the sausage into bite-size pieces as it begins to cook through.

Once all the meat has browned, drain the fat from the sausage, onion, and garlic.

Next, return the meat to the pan, and add the 2 jars of marinara sauce. Stir to combine, and reduce heat to low.

Stir in crushed red pepper and seasonings. Let the sauce simmer for a few minutes while you prepare your cheese and pasta for layering.

That’s it for the sauce! It has perfect flavor, and is ready to be layered into the dish.


To begin assembling, be sure to spoon a very small amount of the sauce into the bottom of a 9×13 pain. Making sure to coat the bottom in a single, thinly spread layer.

Add half of the cooked rigatoni next.

Tear the fresh mozzarella into small pieces and place about half of the cheese around the first layer of rigatoni.

Spread your prepared sauce over the top of the pasta and cheese.

Repeat the layering process, starting again with the rigatoni, then the fresh mozzarella, and finally the remaining marinara sauce.

Top the dish with some shredded mozzarella, and some grated and/or shredded Parmesan cheese.

To finish, bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes, or until cheese has melted and sauce is bubbly.

Once cooked through, you will have delicious melted cheese with every spoonful. The cheese often stretches over a foot long when you first plate it up! We like to serve this Cheesy Sausage Rigatoni at our house with fresh garlic bread and a crisp salad. This dish is perfect for Holiday celebrations, and makes enough for a small gathering.

Best Italian Recipes

Cheesy Sausage Rigatoni

Rigatoni pasta, hearty marinar, ground sausage, spices, and fresh mozzarella all baked together
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 10


  • 1 lb Rigatoni pasta, cooked al dente


  • 2 jars Ragu Pasta Sauce
  • 1 lb Mild Italian Sausage
  • 3 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 lb fresh Mozzarella, torn into small pieces
  • 1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil


  • 1 tsp Crushed Red Pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp Pizza, Pasta Magic Seasoning
  • 1 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Black Pepper

Cheese Garnish

  • 1 Tbsp Ground Parmesan Cheese
  • 2-3 Tbsp Shredded Mozzarella Cheese


  • Cook the rigatoni pasta according to package instructions, approximately 11 minutes. Be careful not to overcook as the pasta will go into the oven again at the end of the recipe. Drain pasta and set aside.

Marinara Sauce

  • Add 1 Tbsp of Extra Virgin Olive Oil to a large sauce pan over medium heat.
  • Add diced onion and minced garlic to the pan, and cook for 2-3 minutes until translucent. Place the ground Italian sausage into the pan, and season with salt and pepper. Crumble the meat as it cooks, until all of it has browned.
  • Drain the fat from the sausage, onions, and garlic, and then return the meat back to the pan.
  • Add the 2 jars of Ragu pasta sauce, and stir until the Italian sausage is incorporated. Stir in Pizza, Pasta Magic Seasoning and Crushed Red Pepper flakes. Continue stirring until seasonings are incorporated. Reduce heat to low and simmer.

Assembling the Pasta, Sauce, and Cheese

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Tear Mozzarella cheese into small pieces, and set aside. Combine shredded mozzarella, and grated parmesan, and set aside.
  • Spread a very small amount of the prepared Marinara sauce into the bottom of a 9×13 pan.
  • Add half of the prepared Rigatoni pasta on top of the small sauce layer. Next, add half of the torn up Mozzarella cheese, spreading evenly onto the pasta.
  • Spoon half of the prepared Marinara sauce on top of the pasta and cheese, spreading into an even layer.
  • Add the rest of the prepared Rigatoni pasta, the remaining Mozzarella cheese, and finally spread the remaining sauce on top to coat.
  • Sprinkle the shredded Mozzarella and grated Parmesan cheese on top of the layered Sausage Rigatoni.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the sauce is bubbly and the cheese on top just beings to brown.
Keyword Best Italian Recipes, Cheesy Pasta, Cheesy Sausage RIgatoni, Italian cooking, Italian food, Sausage Rigatoni

Like this recipe? Try my Perfect Tomato Cream Sauce for another tasty Italian family dinner!


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