Cheese Stuffed-Meatball Rigatoni Bake with Pesto Toasts

fresh ingredients


  • 12 oz
    ground beef
  • 8 oz
    shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 6 oz
    rigatoni pasta
  • 10 oz
    marinara sauce
  • 4 oz
    parmesan cheese
  • 6 oz
    seasoned panko
  • 1 oz
    garlic butter
  • 1 slice
    Tuscan bread
  • 1 oz
  • 1 oz
  • 1 pcs
  • 2 oz
    Italian seasoning
  • 1 oz
    chopped garlic

Not Included

Salt & pepper

Olive oil 


Kitchen Items Needed

Baking sheet

Large skillet

Small skillet or pot 

Large pot 



Large bowl

Small bowl 

Oven proof dish

cook along



Adjust racks to middle & top positions & preheat oven to 400º F;

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil;

Remove leaves from stems & roughly chop basil;

Cut bread in half if necessary. Spread with pesto on one side of each toast;

Break egg into small bowl & whisk together until smooth.

1Form Meatballs

Bring water to a boil. Add beef, Italian seasoning, egg, pinch of salt, pepper & mix together. Make 8 little patties. Divide mozzarella between the centers of each pattie. Gently fold meat around cheese, shaping & sealing to create cheese-stuffed meatballs.

2Bake Meatballs

Lightly oil a baking sheet. Spread meatballs out across entire sheet. Bake on middle rack until cooked through, 20-22 minutes. (It’s OK if some cheese oozes out!)
Remove sheet from oven. Heat broiler to high.

3Cook Pasta

Once water is boiling, add rigatoni to pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente, 9-11 minutes. Reserve 1 cup pasta cooking water, then drain & set aside.

4Toast Panko

While pasta cooks, melt butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Add panko & toast, moving around in pan, until golden. 

5Simmer Sauce

Heat a drizzle of olive oil in large skillet. Add garlic & cook for 30 seconds. Add marinara sauce & reserved past water, salt & pepper, simmer & cook until slightly thickened, 3-4 minutes. 

6Assemble & Bake

Stir drained rigatoni & meatballs into pan with sauce. Transfer mixture to baking dish. Top pasta with parmesan & parmesan mixture. Broil until panko is golden brown & cheese has melted, 1-2 minutes. Let cool slightly. 

7Make Toasts & Serve

Turn oven to bake, add toasts directly on the rack pesto side up. Toast, watching carefully to not burn. 

Divide pasta bake & toasts, sprinkle with basil. Enjoy!