Baked Caprese Rigatoni

Baked RigatoniPinit

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.

Baked Rigatoni

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 Rigatoni

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.

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 Rigatoni

4.6 from 8 reviews
Baked Caprese Rigatoni
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
  • 1 lb. uncooked rigatoni
  • 6 small fresh tomatoes, diced
  • 1 12-ounce can crushed or diced tomatoes
  • 2½ cups your favorite jarred tomato sauce
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ 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.


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

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  1. 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. Ana y Blanca says:

    This looks very tasty!

  3. 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. :)

  4. Fridays are great around the world – good to know :) This sounds absolutely perfect.

  5. 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!

  6. Jen @ Jen's Favorite Cookies says:

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

  7. I shall obey. Holy freaking cow I shall.

  8. Are you able to find good cheese in Cebu?

    • 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.

  9. I was just looking for recipes to use up tomatoes! Yum.

  10. Allen Mork says:

    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

  11. 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!

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

  12. This looks so comforting and delicious! :)

  13. Happy Friday! so glad you’re settling in and cooking away! this looks so delish and yummy!

  14. 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!!

  15. MMM… Looks delicious

  16. Brittany says:

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

  17. I love hearing about your new adventures as you settle in! This dish sounds amazing! I must make. . .soon!

  18. This looks amaaazing. Love hearing about your trip too! 😀

  19. 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!

  20. This looks absolutely gorgeous!

  21. This looks so, so, delicious! Awesome job!

  22. Sarah Johnston says:

    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,

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

  23. Glad you’re adjusting! And this dish looks fabulous! I love that it’s simple and hearty.

  24. 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!

  25. I enjoy your story. You might enjoy mine, too.

  26. I can’t wait to make this! I just pulled off a bunch of tomatoes from my tomato plant and was searching for a worthy recipe for them :)

  27. This made my mouth water,i am supposed to be on low fat because of pancreatitis but i could eat some of it and share with my family.yummy.

  28. This dish looks so good it’s making me hungry! I’m going to have to try it. :)

  29. As one of the few “Guys” on this site, I must concur with the majority of opinions on here and say, this will be appearing on our dinner table this coming week, as I am the resident chef of our home.

  30. So i made this dish tonight, and it got thumbs up from our whole family, doesn’t happen very often where everyone likes what I make! Thanks! I added italian sausage to it ’cause my family can’t go without meat!

  31. My kids would LOVE this!

  32. What type of cheese do you recommend? The recipe doesn’t say (or at least I didn’t find it, sorry). I would assume it’s mozzarella but want to be sure since this seems to be the key ingredient. Thanks!

    • Ah, yes, I honestly can’t remember what I used – I think it might have been Provolone because that’s what I had on hand, but Mozzarella would be the standard cheese to use. :)

  33. I made this tonight and it was so delicious! Mine looks Nothing like your pictures but it tastes great :) Using garden fresh tomatoes certainly makes a difference. I used mozzarella cheese and added crushed red pepper flakes to give it a little kick. Thanks for this recipe, I’ll definitely be making this again.

  34. This really looks divine and perfect for tonight’s dinner. I think you’re right, the cheese!!!!!!!

  35. This is definitely on the menu at my house tonight (with the red pepper flake addition)!

  36. Do yOu think this would freeze well? I have made it and it’s delicious but would lil to make it for a freezer meal exchange I’m doing!

    • I don’t usually freeze pasta or things with tomato. Just personal preference… I feel like it always comes out mushy or watery. But if you try and it works, let me know! :)

  37. I came across this recipe on Pinterest and had to make it. It isn’t exactly tomato season but we used more canned tomatoes and it worked fine. We also cooked some cubed chicken with the onions and garlic to toss in. This meal was great and we will definitely try again. I am looking forward to explore your site for more great recipes!

  38. When you say, “your favorite jarred tomato sauce,” do you mean tomato sauce or do you mean spaghetti sauce?

  39. I’m so hungry right now and this is just what I need about now. Unfortunately I’m missing 2 of the main ingredients.

  40. This looks divine! Do you know how large 1 serving is? 1 c, 1 1/2 c.?? Thanks girl!

  41. I made this and I must say, it turned out absolutely great! I ate the leftovers last night :) (although I have no idea how there were any) Thanks for the recipe!

  42. TKSherwood says:

    Made this tonight!! This was soooooo good!! My husband is a “meat with a meal” kind of guy, and he never commented on the lack of meat in this dish!

  43. Sarah @ Sarah Sincerely says:

    This looks divine! Do you know how large 1 serving is? 1 c, 1 1/2 c.?? Thanks girl

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