Rigatoni with Tomato Parmesan Sauce

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This Rigatoni with Tomato Parmesan Sauce is a hearty meatless meal with an amazing flavor. This from scratch tomato sauce simmers in under an hour…then add freshly grated Parmesan for an ultimate creamy sauce. You may also love our chicken alfredo pasta!

A plate of food, with Sauce and Rigatoni

Rigatoni with Tomato Parmesan Sauce

Kinslee has recently decided that she doesn’t want to eat meat anymore. Now you know we love our beef casseroles, meatballs, chicken and pork probably more than most. So when Kinslee starts to turn her nose up at meat, what are we to do? I know that at least for now this is a bit of a phase (because she won’t turn down a good Five Guys burger or nuggets from Chick-fil-a) but I’m also taking this opportunity to introduce a few Meatless Mondays into our menu. This creamy rigatoni was a huge hit in our house!

What is rigatoni pasta used for?

Rigatoni pasta is normally used with a heavier, creamy sauce. It holds its shape well with sauces such as this parmesan sauce. If you can’t find rigatoni, you can use penne pasta.

Creamy Tomato Sauce

The sauce is the highlight of this recipe. Let’s talk about the different parts.

  • Start the sauce by sauteing some onion in olive oil. It might seem like a lot of onion and you can use less if you’d like. But that onion simmers in the sauce and really intensifies the flavor.
  • Add a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes. Like a little more spice? Add a little more if you’d like! You’ll also add salt and garlic for flavor.
  • Take a large can of Italian tomatoes and put them through the blender or food processor until the sauce is smooth. This is the base to your tomato sauce.
  • Simmer the sauce together for about 45 minutes over medium low heat. You’ll want to be sure you stir the sauce several times during cooking so it doesn’t burn to the bottom of the pan.
  • After the sauce simmers, you’ll add a touch of butter and freshly chopped basil. Yes, use fresh!! It’s what makes this dish so special.
  • The last step to the sauce is to add the Parmesan cheese. I recommend using freshly grated Parmesan because it melts so smoothly. If you use Kraft Parmesan cheese that comes in the shake container, it just won’t melt as well. Be sure to add the cheese in small amounts and allow it to melt before adding more. This will ensure the creamiest sauce.

A close up of food on a plate, with Sauce and Rigatoni

What to serve with rigatoni?

creamy tomato sauce recipe
creamy tomato sauce recipe

Rigatoni with Tomato Parmesan Sauce

4.71 from 27 votes
This Rigatoni with Tomato Parmesan Sauce is a hearty meatless meal with an amazing flavor. This from scratch tomato sauce simmers in under an hour...then add freshly grated Parmesan for an ultimate creamy sauce.
Servings 4
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes

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  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 cup diced white onion
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes
  • 28 ounces Italian tomatoes (blended until smooth)
  • 8 ounces uncooked rigatoni pasta
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves (snipped)
  • 4 tablespoons salted butter (cubed)
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (plus additional for topping)


  • Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and salt. Stir until the onions are translucent (about 5 minutes).
  • Add the garlic. Cook and stir for an additional 1 minute.
  • Add the red pepper flakes and blended Italian tomatoes.
  • Bring the mixture to a simmer, then turn the heat to medium-low. Simmer for 45 minutes, stirring often as the sauce cooks to prevent scorching.
  • While the sauce is cooking, boil the rigatoni according to package directions, but pull it off the heat once it starts to soften (after about 8 minutes). It will cook the rest of the way in the sauce.
  • Add about ⅓ cup of the freshly snipped basil to the tomato sauce. Then stir in the butter.
  • Add the cheese, ¼ cup at at time, to the tomato sauce, stirring between each addition and giving it time to melt.
  • Drain the pasta and add it to the tomato sauce. Stir well to coat the rigatoni.
  • Serve with a sprinkling of fresh basil and parmesan cheese.



The calories shown are based on the recipe being divided 4 ways, using all of the sauce. Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the calories shown are just an estimate. **We are not dietitians and recommend you seek a nutritionist for exact nutritional information.**


Calories: 582kcal | Carbohydrates: 54g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 33g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Cholesterol: 47mg | Sodium: 1097mg | Potassium: 672mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 2355IU | Vitamin C: 30.2mg | Calcium: 343mg | Iron: 1.7mg
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Italian
Calories 582
Keyword italian dinner, parmesan sauce, pasta dinner, sauce recipe

Recipe Source: Allrecipes.com

A plate of food, with parmesan rigatoni

About JulieJulie Clark

About Julie Clark

I'm Julie Clark, CEO and recipe developer of Tastes of Lizzy T. With my B.A. in Education and over 30 years of cooking and baking, I want to teach YOU the best of our family recipes.

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