baked rigatoni

Baked Rigatoni with Zucchini and Ham

  • Author: Flavia Scalzitti


  • 1½ Tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, divided
  • 1 pound (456 grams) zucchini, washed and dried
  • ⅓ cup (75 mL) extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 recipe béchamel sauce
  • 1 pound (456 grams) rigatoni
  • 10 ounces (285 grams) cooked ham, cut into small dice
  • 4 Tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano


  1. Grease a 9 x 13 inch (23 x 33 cm) oven-safe baking dish with 1 Tablespoon of butter and set it aside.
  2. Trim the ends off each zucchini and discard. Cut each zucchini lengthwise in half and then cut each piece lengthwise in half again. Each zucchini should be cut into 4 long pieces. Cut the zucchini lengths crosswise into ¼-inch pieces (they will look like triangles). Set aside.
  3. Heat a 10-inch (25 cm) skillet over medium heat and add in the olive oil. Add in all the zucchini, the salt, and pepper and stir to combine. Cook the zucchini over medium heat, stirring often until it is completely cooked through and just beginning to caramelize lightly at the edges. The zucchini will give off some water as it begins to cook down, but it will evaporate away as it continues to cook. Once the zucchini is cooked, it should glisten with the oil and be very tender to the point of some pieces looking as if they are melting. Turn off the heat and set the pan aside.
  4. Put a large pot of water to boil over hight heat.
  5. While the water comes to a boil, make the béchamel sauce. Once it is finished, cover the pot with a lid to keep the béchamel sauce warm.
  6. Preheat the oven to 350°.
  7. Salt the pasta water and add in the rigatoni. Stir frequently to prevent the pasta from sticking. Cook the rigatoni 2-3 minutes less than indicated on the package instructions. The pasta will finish cooking when it bakes in the oven. Strain the pasta thoroughly through a colander and return it to the pot.
  8. Pour all of the béchamel sauce over the rigatoni and stir to coat them evenly. Add in the sautéed zucchini and diced ham and mix well to distribute the ingredients evenly throughout the pasta.
  9. Transfer the pasta mixture to the greased baking dish and spread it out evenly. Top the pasta mixture with the Parmigiano and dot the top with the remaining ½ Tablespoon of butter.
  10. Cover the pasta lightly with a piece of aluminum foil and bake on the center rack for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes until it turns a light golden color.
  11. Allow the baked rigatoni to rest for 10 minutes before serving.