Rigatoni with Cheesy Pesto

I'm so thankful for pasta.  In some way, shape, or form, I think it's on our dinner plates at least once a week.  I'm pretty sure you could mix almost anything with pasta and it would be yummy.
This is a cheesy, creamy, comforting rigatoni with a 2-cheese pesto sauce.  The sauce creeps inside every rigatoni noodle, so each bite is delicious.  Goat cheese and parmesan are the two cheeses, but if goat doesn't float your boat, substitute cream cheese.  And if meat is required at dinner at your house, toss in a cup or two of shredded rotisserie chicken before baking.

Rigatoni with Cheesy Pesto
{serves 6}


1/2 cup panko
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 TBSP butter, melted


2 TBSP butter
2 TBSP flour
1/2 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 cups milk
4 ounces goat cheese
1 cup freshly grated parmesan
1/2 cup pesto {I used the prepared kind in the refrigerated section}


1 lb. rigatoni

Preheat oven to 350.  Put on the salted water to boil for the pasta.  Grease a large baking dish (about 9x13").

Make the topping by combining the panko, parmesan, red pepper, salt,  and a few turns of black pepper in a small bowl.  Stir in the melted butter and set aside.

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat.  Once melted, add the flour, salt and freshly ground pepper, whisking until bubbly and lightly golden.  Slowly add the milk, whisking until combined and smooth.  Continue whisking until the milk comes to a boil.  Once it comes to a boil, cook and stir for one minute, or until the sauce is thickened.

Reduce the heat to low and whisk in the goat cheese and parmesan until smooth.

Whisk in the pesto.

Keep the sauce over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is ready.

Meanwhile, boil the pasta for about 9  minutes, until al dente (the pasta is no longer hard, but had some "bite" left in it.  It will continue cooking in the oven).  Drain the pasta.

Return the pasta to the pot, pour the sauce over and stir to combine.  Place in the prepared dish and sprinkle the topping over the top.
Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden on the top. 

Serve with a simple salad....in our house, that's most likely a handful or two of baby spinach, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.  (But, feel free to make a "real" salad.) :)


  1. Pasta once a week for us too!! so I'm always looking for new ways to fix it!!

    This sounds like a winner!!

  2. Ohhh, like the goat cheese add! I'm a recovering pesto pasta addict - I find my pants fit a wee bit better when I limit it to once every few weeks. ;) That said, I need to give your cheesy version a try!

  3. It makes me sad that you use store bought pesto. I read that and instantly thought - I should send her some homemade pesto! We always have a giant bowl of it in our fridge. It was also the first thing my kids learned to make in the food processor.

  4. This pasta dish looks perfect!

  5. I made this this weekend and it wad great! I used shredded mozzerella instead of the goat cheese since I was making it for a pickier crowd, and I added some cubed fresh mozzerella too! So delicious! I am loving your savory recipes :0)

  6. Oh, I will definitely be making this! I am in love with panko :)


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