Baked Caprese Rigatoni Recipe - Skillful Cook
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Baked Caprese Rigatoni

9 reviews / 4.7 average

Cheese. Basil. Tomato. In that order.

It's summer and one of my favorite things about summer is basil.

My other favorite thing is the farmer's market. Grab me a latte, put on my shades, pick out some pretty looking veggies, take a few pictures, enjoy the smell of freshly baked stuff, and drive right on home in my air conditioned SUV.

Yep. I loooove the farmer's market.

Tomatoes in a white dish.

My market experience here could not be more opposite.

I go at 5:45am (it's become a pit stop on my morning run, because I stand NO chance of walking that far in the heat anytime after 7am), so you can imagine what a jewel I look like: no trendy shades, no latte, no nice camera. Just me and my stinky, sweaty self trying to dig a few coins out of the pocket of my running shorts.

I secretly plug my nose as I walk through because the smells are overwhelming: raw fish, raw meat (and I mean raw, whole-animal meat), some kind of egg smell, and my own mid-run smell. I keep a sharp eye out for cockroaches and try not to walk within 10 feet of a butcher. On a typical day, I get hit in the head by a few massive falling shade umbrellas. I wipe streams of sweat out of my eyes as I pay for my produce, which I then run home with {cute} and bleach.

Honest truth: I sorely miss my old farmer's market.

But hey. In place of freshly baked treats, I can buy sticky coconut rice wrapped in banana leaves, and in place of my cozy latte, I have new market vendor friends. Sort of. In place of my fancy camera, I can use my eyes and my memory, and in place of the comfort my SUV, I have my own two feet that can carry me home just fine.

Every day feels a little more normal.

Baked caprese rigatoni with tomatoes, basil, and Mozzarella in a pan.

Not to change the subject or anything, but I'm starting to turn into a full-blown tomato because I can't.stop.eating.the.cheese. I mean, the tomatoes. I mean, the whole thing. The whole cheesy shebang of saucy rigatoni, fresh tomatoes, fresh basil, and ch-ch-ch-ch-cheese in this baked caprese rigatoni.

By now, I hope that you have not read any of this post and you have been scrolling straight down to the recipe.

I don't really hope that, but please.

Put this on your table. ASAP.

Baked caprese rigatoni in a pan and on a fork.
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A picture of Baked Caprese Rigatoni

Baked Caprese Rigatoni


This baked caprese rigatoni has lots of fresh tomatoes, basil, and Mozzarella. Simple ingredients baked to pasta perfection.


  • 1 lb. uncooked rigatoni
  • 6 small fresh tomatoes, diced
  • 1 12-ounce can crushed or diced tomatoes
  • 2 1/2 cups your favorite jarred tomato sauce
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, torn or sliced into ribbons
  • ½ block grated cheese
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil


  1. Cook rigatoni according to directions on package. Drain and set aside. Preheat broiler.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Saute onion and garlic over medium high heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring so the garlic doesn’t burn. Add crushed tomatoes and fresh tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper and simmer for 5-10 minutes or until mixture thickens slightly. Add half of the basil and stir for 1 minute. Remove from heat and add to the pasta. Pour in tomato sauce and stir to combine (and you can add more sauce until it's saucy enough for you if you). Pour into a baking dish or skillet.
  3. Top with shredded cheese and place under broiler for 5-8 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly. Sprinkle with remaining fresh basil and serve.


I used all three types of tomatoes because I like them all and I wanted all the different textures in the sauce. You could easily omit one and replace it with more of another depending on what you have on hand or how you like the texture.

  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 10 mins
  • Category: Dinner
  • Cuisine: Italian

Keywords: baked rigatoni, caprese rigatoni, rigatoni

One thing that holds true in my Filipino life: I LOVE FRIDAYS. Oh, happy day.

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  1. Skillful Cook Logo

    Happy Friday Lindsay! I love hearing more about how you’re settling into your new life and I’m so impressed that you’re back to cooking delicious dishes already!

  2. Skillful Cook Logo

    My basil plant has died and I’ve been moping. It didn’t occur to me to head down to the Farmer’s Market. Thanks for the inspiration. Tomorrow morning, I will go in your honor: trendy shades, latte, and all. 🙂

  3. Skillful Cook Logo

    You and I, we could totally hang out…I love skipping through farmer’s markets too and basil is my all-time favorite herb! Your rigatoni sounds delicious – fresh and satisfying! Hope you have a fun weekend!

  4. Skillful Cook Logo

    I love Fridays too. Awesome post! This meal looks perfect, I think I might just make it tonight!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      It’s expensive, and a little random in terms of the selection, but yes! The most elusive cheese so far is goat cheese, but I have a feeling that the bigger grocery store (similar to a Costco with lots of American brands) might have some.

  5. Skillful Cook Logo

    Hey Linds! Not sure how you are making such amazing looking (and I am sure tasting) dishes there – but congrats! I especially thought the mango cake earlier this week looked awesome. The story behind this dish is great though and I don’t think I would/could pass up a bowl of it if you set it in front of me!

    Love – Dad

  6. Skillful Cook Logo

    I LOVE melty cheese too! So much 🙂
    The fact that you’re adapting to a lifestyle so different than your typical one is really something to be proud of. You really have such a great attitude about it.
    And the rigatoni looks AMAZING!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Thank you! That is really sweet. There are challenging moments, but we have so much encouragement from people to help us stay positive! 🙂

  7. Skillful Cook Logo

    Wow!!! Looks crazy delicious!!! Think I’ll give it a try this week… Thanks!!! And it’s great to see things are going well for you!!! You’re in my prayers!!

  8. Skillful Cook Logo

    Yum! I love, love, love this. So simple, yet satisfying and delicious. I could eat that any time of the day! 🙂

  9. Skillful Cook Logo

    Ah this looks amazing. I am truly impressed that you are able to still come up with such lovely dishes so far away from home. This looks super comforting and yet still summery – a tricky combination!

  10. Skillful Cook Logo

    Hi Lindsay,
    I can relate to your difficulty with the smells. I spent some time in Mexico, and remember the meat markets being revolting in their odors, as well as some of the stuff they ate. Great that you are running… Good for body and soul.
    I can relate to your tomato thing…. I feel like I’ve eaten them nonstop for days, with basil, of course.
    Thinking of you,

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Ooh yes! Remember your giant tomato from last summer? I can’t remember his name … that was awesome. 🙂 Hope you are enjoying your summer!

  11. Skillful Cook Logo

    I have been sitting here getting caught up on your last few week’s posts, and love that you are sharing your experiences with us! Your posts are so much fun to read, and your recipes are mouth watering!