Legacy of Passion

Rigatoni and Broccoli Rabe Bake

Broccoli Rabe and Rigatoni Bake

Is there anything more comforting and satisfying than a pasta bake? To us, it’s a dish that everyone can gather round, and all will enjoy. This pasta bake includes everyone’s favorites…rigatoni, herbs, tomatoes, broccoli rabe, and of course, plenty of cheese! This is the perfect dish to make in advance and serve to guests, or simply to prepare for family on colder nights!

Recipe by Tieghan Gerard

Tieghan is the author of Half Baked Harvest, and the winner of the 2014 and 2016 Better Homes & Gardens Reader’s Choice Award for Favorite Food Blog. It was also the recipient of Saveur Magazine’s 2016 Award for Most Inspired Weeknight Dinners as well as the 2016 Bloglovin’ Best Food Blog Award. Her first book, The Half Baked Harvest Cookbook, published by Clarkson Potter, launched September 12, 2017. Tieghan is also a regular contributor at the Huffington Post and Buzzfeed.

Serves: 6-8
Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 1 hr
Total: 1 hr 15 mins


  • 1 bunch broccoli rabe, ends trimmed + roughly chopped
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • Kosher salt + pepper
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or grated
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 lb ground spicy Italian chicken sausage or regular spicy Italian sausage
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup oil packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained + chopped
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup red wine (or water)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 lb rigatoni
  • 6 oz Gorgonzola or blue cheese, crumbled
  • 8 oz fresh mozzarella cheese, torn
  • 3 oz pancetta, chopped (optional, but adds great flavor)


Broccoli Rabe and Rigatoni Bake

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.

2. Place the broccoli rabe on a large, rimmed baking sheet and toss with the olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast until the broccoli rabe is roasted + crisp, about 10-15 minutes. Remove from the oven.

Broccoli Rabe and Rigatoni Bake

3. Meanwhile, make the sauce. In a heavy bottomed pot, cook the pancetta over medium heat, stirring until the pancetta is lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the onion, garlic and red pepper. Cook, stirring until the veggies are softened, about 5 minutes. Push the veggies off to the side of the pan and increase the heat to medium-high. Add 1 Tbsp of olive oil to the center of the pan and crumble in the ground sausage. Cook without stirring for 3 minutes and then begin breaking up the meat. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until well browned, about 5 minutes. Add the oregano, basil, and thyme. Cook another minute or so.

4. Add the tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, milk, wine, bay leaves, and a good pinch of salt + pepper to the pot. Cook the sauce over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 30 minutes. Discard the bay leaves, taste to season with salt + pepper. Remove from the heat.

Broccoli Rabe and Rigatoni Bake

5. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Boil the pasta until al dente, drain and toss with the tomato sauce + roasted broccoli rabe. Transfer the pasta to a 9×13 inch baking dish. Top with Gorgonzola and mozzarella cheese.

6. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the cheese is melted and gooey.

7. Remove and let sit 5 minutes. Serve.

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