Witch’s Cauldron Baked Rigatoni

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Bubbly blup. Bubbly blup. I could hear the sound of cheese bubbling inside the cauldron, and knew this must be the work of the kooky witch who resides inside of me and dwells in my kitchen. My eyes twitched back and forth, back and forth, imitating the old cat clock that hung on the wall. Back and forth counting the seconds. I knew my Halloween party guests would arrive soon, and I had a little more than an hour to make things perfect. Thank the howling ghosts for Target, I was able to pull the whole party together with one trip to my local store. What a time saver…. I couldn’t have done it without them. It was time to make this kooky witch come to life with the hour I had to spare. My cauldron had a pile of cheese and pasta baking in the oven….. I didn’t find a need for an open flame this time… After all, I’m a modern witch.

Once my make-up was on and my pointy hat in place (pssst…. I bought all my costume accessories at Target, too), it was time to dress the table. The witch’s cauldron baked rigatoni was enough to  feed an army, and I was glad because I certainly had a lot of guests coming. I felt like a magical spell made me move faster than usual. Then, right as the last spooky detail was finished, I heard the doorbell ring, and a voice from behind the door say “Ding dong the witch is cooking again.”

  • Baked Rigatoni 1 of 16
    baked rigatoni

    This dish is deep, so it's hard to serve, but every layer is delicious. 

  • Olive Oil 2 of 16

    It all starts with a thin layer of olive oil over a medium flame. 

  • Onion And Yellow Bell 3 of 16

    Saute onion and bell pepper for 5 minutes in olive oil. 

  • Mushrooms 4 of 16

    Add in mushrooms, and mix to combine. 

  • Basil 5 of 16

    Adding fresh basil to the sauce makes a huge difference in taste. 

  • Tomatoes Galore 6 of 16

    Add in chopped tomatoes and crushed tomatoes, mix to combine. 

  • Mixed Sauce 7 of 16

    If you desire you can leave the sauce as is..... a vegetarian sauce. If not, proceed to the following steps. 

  • Cook The Meat 8 of 16

    Break up the meat with the back of a spoon or spatula. 

  • Add The Meat 9 of 16

    Pour the cooked meat into the sauce. 

  • 1st Layer 10 of 16

    Pour 1 cup tomato sauce on the bottom of the dutch oven. 

  • Pasta 11 of 16

    Drop in a single layer of pasta. 

  • Meat Sauce 12 of 16

    Pour the meat sauce over the pasta. Even it out.

  • Cheese 13 of 16

    Sprinkle the grated cheese over the meat mixture. 

  • More Pasta 14 of 16

    Add another layer of pasta.... and so one. Continue to layer with tomato/meat mixture, Parmesan cheese, pasta, tomato/meat mixture, jack cheese, pasta, tomato/meat mixture, 1 cup tomato sauce, and top the whole thing off with mozzarella cheese.

  • Ready To Bake 15 of 16

    Bake for 1 hour at 350 F. 

  • Let Cool 16 of 16

    Let cool for 20 minutes. 

Ingredients for Witch’s Cauldron Baked Rigatoni:

  • 2 – tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 – onion (chopped)
  • 1 – yellow bell pepper (chopped)
  • 9 – ounces mushrooms (sliced)
  • 1 – tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 – cup fresh chopped basil
  • 1 – teaspoon salt
  • 3 – cups tomato sauce
  • 1 – pound chopped tomatoes (canned)
  • 1 – pound crushed tomatoes (canned)
  • 1/2 – teaspoon oregano
  • 1 – pound ground beef
  • 1 – pound ground pork
  • 2 – pounds rigatoni
  • 1 – cup cheddar cheese (grated)
  • 1 – cup Parmesan cheese (grated)
  • 1 – cup jack cheese (grated)
  • 1 – cup mozzarella cheese (grated)


  1. In a large pot over a medium flame add in olive oil and allow to get hot.
  2. Add in onion and bell pepper and saute for 5 minutes stirring every so often.
  3. Add in mushrooms and garlic, mix to combine cooking for 3 additional minutes before adding in the  basil and salt.
  4. Add in 1 cup tomato sauce, chopped tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, and oregano. Mix to combine and allow mixture to brew for about 10 minutes.
  5. While tomato mixture is cooking, in a separate pan cook ground beef and ground pork for 10 to 15 minutes or until no longer pink. Break up meat with the back of a spatula.
  6. Add the meat to the tomato mixture. Mix to combine.
  7. Once the tomato/meat mixture starts to boil, lower flame and let simmer for about 30 minutes.
  8. In a large pot, boil the rigatoni for 10 minutes, then drain and set to the side. (divide the pasta into 4 parts, 1/2 pound each part)
  9. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  10. In a large dutch oven (12 quarts) pour 1 cup of tomato sauce into the bottom. Smooth out with the back of a spoon. Pour 1/2 pound of cooked rigatoni on top of tomato sauce.
  11. Then pour 2 cups of tomato/meat mixture on top of rigatoni. Smooth out with back of the spoon.
  12. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese. Then another part pasta, tomato/meat mixture, Parmesan cheese, pasta, tomato/meat mixture, jack cheese, pasta, tomato/meat mixture, 1 cup tomato sauce, and top the whole thing off with mozzarella cheese.
  13. Bake for 1 hour.
  14. Enjoy.

For more recipes from Nicole Presley click over to her blog: Presley’s Pantry 

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Article Posted 3 years Ago

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