If you are a big pasta foodie seeking some excitement, go all out for our creamy tomato rigatoni pasta. In this recipe, rigatoni pasta and white mushrooms are tossed in a creamy tomato sauce for a burst of umami taste.
Try it out yourself and bring layers of flavor to your dinner table.
Is Our Recipe Healthy?
The answer is yes.
Shift away from the old-fashioned perception that pasta is not healthy. Pasta meals are considered part of a healthy eating pattern.
The dairies and beef take credit for making our rigatoni pasta a high-protein dish, at 20.5 g per serving. By meeting the daily recommended protein intake, we can improve our bone health.
Although each serving contains 504 calories, it’s not too much for a meal that keeps up your energy levels throughout the day.
Does consuming sodium and fatty substances stress you out? Not with today’s recipe. The amount of salt and fat are kept within healthy limits, at 558.6 mg and 22.6 g, respectively.
Before learning about the ingredients, shall we do a little research on the pasta choices?
Ziti vs Rigatoni
First, let’s discuss what makes rigatoni and ziti pasta appear so similar.
They are both Italian-origin pasta and are widely featured in Western cuisine.
Rigatoni and ziti are cylindrical and hollow pasta, making them a perfect fit for simple as well as meaty sauces. This also means that one can be substituted for the other.
On the other hand, a closer look will help us tell them apart, based on these primary differences:
Rigatoni is larger than ziti.
Rigatoni always has grooves, while ziti may or may not have them.
Rigatoni is shorter but has a wider opening than ziti.
Without further ado, let’s jump to the ingredients list.
Pasta: We call for rigatoni pasta in this recipe. The ridged texture and hollow interior create a large surface for the sauce to stick to.
Ground beef: Ground beef is an essential ingredient for a classic rigatoni pasta. It not only adds more texture, but the iron-rich beef also compliments our tomato sauce.
Mushrooms: White mushrooms are highly recommended by our chefs. When cooked, they give a mild sweetness blended with an umami taste. However, you can also opt for Shiitake mushrooms if you fancy their earthy taste.
Herbs: While thyme and parsley add more depth to the dish, paprika gives it a rich color. Using paprika as natural food coloring will make our tomato sauce more vibrant yet still healthy.
Dairy: Milk and heavy cream add to the thickness and luscious taste of the sauce.
Cheese: Thin slices of Parmesan are shredded on top for extra flavor.
Seasoning: Salt and pepper will do the trick for this pasta dish.
Homemade tomato sauce: The taste of canned tomato sauce is no way comparable with a homemade one. Store-bought sauce is more sugary compared to the natural sweetness of the homemade one. Besides, homemade sauce is a healthier option as you have more control over the ingredients.
Vegetable heavy cream is a great replacement for regular heavy cream. Though it doesn’t whip well for desserts, it works fine for sauces and soups. Regular heavy cream may be slightly richer, but the overall taste is almost identical.
How to Store and Reheat Leftovers
If you want to enjoy your leftover pasta the morning after, refrigeration is the best method. Divide the pasta into portions, label with the date, and put in airtight containers. Place the pasta in the fridge for up to 3 days.
For this recipe, we don’t suggest freezing the leftovers as dairy ingredients in the sauce won’t hold up too well.
If you are in a rush, place the leftovers in a microwave-safe bowl, add 1-2 tablespoons of water, and cover the lid before microwaving it for 3-4 minutes.
If you want to retain the moisture in the pasta, reheating it in the oven is a better option. Wrap aluminum foil over the pasta and bake it in the oven at 350°F for 20-30 minutes. Remember to check your dish every 5-10 minutes to prevent the pasta from getting overcooked or drying out.
What to Serve with
Summer is almost here, so why not pair our main dish with a refreshing Panzanella salad and wash it down with a lemonade?
Panzanella Salad: Our salad bowl is full of wonder: Crunchy veggies and croutons tossed with classic vinaigrette dressing. After 15 minutes of preparation, a healthy snick-snack is ready to go.
Healthy Lemonade: Homemade lemonade possesses a stronger lemon flavor, whereas store-bought is milder and sweeter (due to many artificial sweeteners). For this reason, we recommend our healthy lemonade recipe for an authentic summery drink.
Enjoy a Hearty Dinner with These Delicious Beef Pasta Meals
This recipe is a unique twist on the classic Italian dish, combining the flavors of spaghetti and lasagna into one delicious meal. With layers of ground beef, cheese, and pasta, this hearty dish is perfect for feeding a crowd or enjoying as leftovers throughout the week.
This spicy twist on traditional spaghetti features ground beef seasoned with chili powder, cumin, and paprika, along with black beans, corn, and diced tomatoes. Serve topped with shredded cheese and fresh cilantro for a Tex-Mex inspired meal.
On a medium heat pan, add 1 tbsp unsalted butter, 2 oz onion, and 1 tbsp garlic. Cook until the onion is translucent and the garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute.
In the same pan, add 8 oz white mushrooms, and stir fry for 3 minutes.
Continue to add 5 oz 85% lean ground beef, 1/2 tsp pepper, 3/4 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp paprika, 1/2 tbsp all-purpose flour, and 1 tsp thyme. Sauté for 2 minutes.
Pour 1 cup homemade tomato sauce and 2 fl oz white wine into the pan. Cook until the wine has evaporated, about 1 minute.
In the same pan, add 1/2 cup unsalted chicken broth and 1/2 cup whole milk. Bring the mixture to a boil, then lower the heat and continue to cook for another 4 minutes. Stir in 4 tbsp heavy cream. Mix well.
Add 18 oz cooked rigatoni and toss it in the sauce for 1 minute until the pasta is evenly coated.
Sprinkle 2 tbsp chopped parsley and 0.5 oz sliced parmesan cheese. Enjoy.
How to Make Creamy Tomato Rigatoni Pasta
Amount Per Serving (1 serving)
Calories 504Calories from Fat 207
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat 10g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 3g
Vitamin A 1360IU
Vitamin C 21mg
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Tuyet Pham is an award-winning Saigonese chef who believes that joy is the secret ingredient to delicious food. At Healthy Recipes 101, Tuyet personally tests and simplifies every recipe, ensuring maximum flavor with minimal effort. With a background at prestigious French restaurants P’TI Saigon and Le Corto, Tuyet knows how to make every dish exceptional.
Luna Regina is an accomplished writer and author who dedicates her career to empowering home cooks and making cooking effortless for everyone. She is the founder of HealthyKitchen101.com and HealthyRecipes101.com, where she works with her team to develop easy, nutritious recipes and help aspiring cooks choose the right kitchen appliances.
Natalie Butler is a registered dietitian nutritionist with a passion to help others live their best life through food, fitness, safer beauty and a healthy lifestyle. She has expertise with a variety of diets and diseases and believes that there is no one-size-fits-all approach for health.
The pasta sounds like a delightful combination of flavors! It looks like the perfect comfort food dish.