"A pasta lover's dream come true," says Giada, of this easy sausage and pasta bake with a cheesy golden crust on top. 






Skill level

Average: 3.4 (13 votes)

The great thing about a baked pasta is you can prepare it in advance, and then just pop it in the oven when you are ready to cook it. 



  • 1 cup (250 ml) whole-milk ricotta cheese 
  • ½ cup fresh basil leaves, chopped  
  • ½ tsp kosher salt  



  • ¼ tsp kosher salt, plus more for the pasta 
  • 450 g (1 lb) rigatoni or other shaped pasta  
  • 3 tsp (15 ml) olive oil 
  • 450 g (1 lb) sweet Italian sausage, casings removed  (see Note)
  • 1 large or 2 small heads broccoli, chopped into small florets  
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped  
  • 725 ml (3 scant cups or 25 oz jar) marinara sauce  
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese  

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F).
  2. For the topping, add the ricotta, basil, and salt to a small bowl. Stir together with a rubber spatula. Set aside.
  3. For the pasta, bring a large pot of water to boil. Season well with salt and cook the rigatoni for 5 minutes. Drain well, reserving ½ cup pasta water.
  4. Meanwhile, heat a large ovenproof pot or skillet over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and sausage to the pan. Cook, stirring often and breaking apart the meat with the back of a spoon, until beginning to brown, about 7 minutes. Add the broccoli and garlic and cook to marry the flavors, about 3 minutes. Stir in the marinara and 1/4 tsp salt until fully combined. Add the pasta to the pan and sprinkle with ½ cup of the Parmesan cheese. Toss well to coat. Add the reserved pasta water to thin the sauce slightly. 
  5. Dollop the ricotta cheese mixture evenly over the top. Nestle the ricotta mixture into the pasta and cover with some of the pasta. Sprinkle with the mozzarella and remaining ½ cup Parmesan cheese and bake until golden brown and bubbly, about 20 minutes. Allow to sit for 5 minutes before serving.



Sweet Italian sausage usually refers to a pork sausage, often flavoured with fennel and garlic.