Cheesy Baked Rigatoni with Lamb Ragu

We've elevated the humble pasta bake to Sunday supper-worthy fare by using lamb instead of beef and swapping out the mozzarella often found on casseroles for Fontina, a mild, buttery, semi-soft cheese with a slight nuttiness. Substitute ground lamb for lean sausage or ground beef depending on your current taste bud needs.
Cheesy Baked Rigatoni with Lamb Ragu

Cheesy Baked Rigatoni with Lamb Ragu

  • Duration
  • Cook Time
  • Prep Time
  • 10Servings


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 8 oz white or cremini mushrooms, quartered
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 12 oz ground lamb, lean sausage or ground beef
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp each sea salt and ground black pepper
  • 2 cups jarred unsalted pureed strained tomatoes (aka passata)
  • 1/4 dry red wine
  • 1 lb whole grain rigatoni (or any larger tube pasta like elicoidali, paccheri or tortiglioni)
  • 1/2 cups whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup coarsely grated (or tom) Fontina cheese
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary, optional


1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Mist a 13 x 9-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside.

2. In a large saucepan (at least 3 qt), heat oil on medium-high. Add onion and sauté, stirring often, until softened, about 2 minutes. Add mushrooms and sauté until beginning to brown, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

3. Add lamb, oregano, salt and pepper and cook, breaking up with back of spoon, until browned, 7 to 9 minutes. Add tomatoes and wine; bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 12 to 15 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, bring a separate large saucepan of water to a boil. Add pasta and cook al dente according to package directions. Drain and stir into lamb mixture.

5. Scrape into prepared baking dish. Using a teaspoon, dollop ricotta evenly over top; stir gently to incorporate into pasta. Sprinkle with Fontina. Cover loosely with foil and bake until cheese is bubbly, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven.

6. Arrange 1 oven rack in top third of oven; preheat broiler to high. Transfer dish to top rack; broil until golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Sprinkle with rosemary (if using).

Nutrition Information

  • Serving Size: 1 1/2 cups
  • Calories: 339
  • Carbohydrate Content: 38 g
  • Cholesterol Content: 44 mg
  • Fat Content: 14 g
  • Fiber Content: 5 g
  • Protein Content: 18 g
  • Saturated Fat Content: 7 g
  • Sodium Content: 229 mg
  • Sugar Content: 4 g
  • Monounsaturated Fat Content: 5 g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat Content: 1 g