Rigatoni dishes are best with sauce and cheese that can get inside the pasta tubes and create layers of texture and flavor. The perfect rigatoni is soft and bland, accommodating other flavors and serving as the base for the dish.
What Is Rigatoni?
This pasta is shape like a tube, and it is completely hollow inside. Rigatoni pasta is used in a variety of dishes, such as beef Rigatoni, pasta bake, and pasta salad. The hollow characteristic of this pasta makes it a good choice for certain kinds of dishes, especially those with sauces or small, loose ingredients that can make their way inside the Rigatoni pasta.
If you want to learn how to make Rigatoni from scratch, I’ll show you a method for homemade pasta you can use. I’ll also cover a few things you can do with packaged Rigatoni you buy in the grocery.
How to Make Rigatoni Pasta
- 200 grams of flour
- 200 grams of semolina flour
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 4 eggs
- Mix your flour together and create a mount. Then, make a well in the middle of the mound and crack your eggs into that well.
- Using a fork, beat the egg mixture, and then fold the flour into the middle of the well until all your liquid is absorbed.
- Add olive oil as your mixture begins to thicken and incorporate the remainder of the flour. Work the dough by kneading it for five minutes.
- Cover the dough and let it rest for 30 minutes.
- Prepare your Rigatoni extruder, and cut the dough into small sections, and then roll it into balls that are a size of a walnut. Send the dough balls into the extruder, and then cut them into pieces that are two to three centimeters long. Place these pieces onto a wooden board that has been lightly floured.
- Now you’re ready to cook the Rigatoni. Prepare a pot of water and heat it until the water is boiling. Add a few dashes of salt to the water, and then cook your pasta in the boiling water for two to three minutes.
- Strain out the pasta and serve it up.
How Long to Cook Rigatoni?
If you’re making the Rigatoni from scratch, creating it from raw ingredients, then you’ll need to cook it for two to three minutes in boiling water. What if you were working with packaged Rigatoni? How long does that take to cook on the stove?
Just as though you’re making the pasta from scratch, you will prepare a pot of water that’s been lightly salted to cook your packaged Rigatoni.
Rigatoni pasta tends to be fairly large, larger than most other kinds of pasta. That means that it can take longer to cook on the stovetop. Once the water is boiling, you can keep the heat high and add your Rigatoni. Cook for 10-12 minutes, stirring every so often to make sure that the Rigatoni pasta does not stick to the bottom of the pot. Once the pasta is tender enough to eat and cooked al dente (meaning it still has a little bite to it), then it is done cooking.
It’s important that you get the right texture and density for your Rigatoni. This isn’t large pasta, which means it takes a while to reach that al dente texture. When it’s the right level of doneness, you should be able to bite through it easily, but there should be a little bit of resistance at the end of the bite.
The very center of the Rigatoni, around the hollow interior should have a little bit of resistance, whereas the outer part of the Rigatoni should have a lot of give and be very tender. This al dente level of doneness is perfect for this particular pasta dish, but you may prefer it to be slightly more cooked or slightly less cooked. You can feel free to cook Rigatoni to your liking.
Now that you know how to cook rigatoni pasta, let’s talk about a few things you can do with your Rigatoni.
How to Use Rigatoni Pasta
One of my favorite dishes to use Rigatoni in is called baked Rigatoni. What is baked Rigatoni? This is essentially a casserole dish using boiled Rigatoni pasta, cheese, beef, and herbs and spices to create a flavorful dish that can serve as the main course for your meal. It could be made in layers like lasagna, or you can just mix all your ingredients in together and then add a layer of cheese or bread crumbs on top for a crust.
To add some protein to your Rigatoni, try using bacon, shrimp, beef, or chicken. Even tofu can go well with Rigatoni, if it’s chopped small and seasoned well. For vegetable additions, try adding tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, spinach, or kale to your Rigatoni.
Rigatoni can be accompanied by a variety of side dishes, including garlic bread, a salad, soup, crackers, fried cheese, and more.
Rigatoni is most often served with pasta sauce, and you want to make sure you’re using a flavorful sauce that covers up the blandness of the pasta. If your dish feels too bland once you’ve added sauce to the Rigatoni, you may need to put some seasonings of your own into the pasta sauce.
Try an Italian seasoning mix, or add oregano, basil, garlic powder, and onion powder to add more flavor. To make a chunkier sauce to go with your Rigatoni, try chopping up mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, green peppers, or other veggies. You can stew these in the pasta sauce until they’re tender or cook them separately and add them to the pasta sauce after they’re cooked.
There are so many ways you can use this pasta, and it can be incorporated into pasta dishes in place of other types of pasta as well, such as shell pasta, noodles, and macaroni. Feel free to change out those kinds of pasta and try Rigatoni in the dish for something different.