Baked Rigatoni with Zucchini and Mozzarella Recipe

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If you're in the mood for a cheesy lasagna but want something a little less labor-intensive, try this Baked Rigatoni. Fresh mozzarella, which is sold in water, has a short shelf life and should be used within a few days of purchase for the best flavor. If you can't find ciliegini, you can tear a standard-size ball of fresh mozzarella into small pieces. Give this baked pasta an impressive look by using a springform pan.

Baked Rigatoni with Zucchini and Mozzarella
Photo: Linda Pugliese; Prop Styling: Claire Spollen; Food Styling: Torie Cox
Active Time:
15 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 15 mins
Yield:
8 serves

Ingredients

  • 1 pound rigatoni pasta

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1 1/2 cups zucchini, cut into half-moons (from 1 [8 oz.] zucchini)

  • 5 ounces baby spinach

  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided

  • 3/4 cup sour cream

  • 1/2 cup plain whole-milk Greek yogurt

  • 1 large egg

  • 16 ounces small fresh mozzarella cheese balls, divided

  • 2 ounces grated Parmesan cheese, divided

  • 1 (14.5-oz.) can diced tomatoes, drained

  • Fresh basil leaves

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Cook rigatoni pasta according to package directions. Drain and transfer to a large bowl.

  2. Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high. Add zucchini and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned on all sides, about 4 minutes. Stir in baby spinach; cook until wilted, about 1 minute. Sprinkle with black pepper and 1/4 tsp. kosher salt. Transfer to bowl with pasta.

  3. Whisk together sour cream, plain whole-milk Greek yogurt, egg, and 3⁄4 tsp. kosher salt in a medium bowl until well incorporated.

  4. Stir sour cream mixture into pasta mixture until well coated. Add 12 oz. small fresh mozzarella cheese balls and 1 oz. grated Parmesan cheese to pasta mixture; toss to combine. Gently stir in drained, diced tomatoes.

  5. Transfer mixture to a lightly greased (with cooking spray) 9-inch springform pan, and place on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven until set, about 30 minutes. Top with remaining 4 oz. small fresh mozzarella cheese balls and remaining 1 oz. grated Parmesan cheese, and return to oven. Bake until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Remove and let stand 15 minutes. Release side of springform pan, and cut into 8 pieces. Sprinkle with fresh basil leaves.

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