• Baked Rigatoni

    by  • October 8, 2012 • Cook, Culinary Therapy, Food & Recipes • 28 Comments

    Cheese and I go way back. I like its creamy texture. It likes my thighs. It’s a rather symbiotic relationship we’ve got going.

    But lately, we’ve been on the outs. It’s not that cheese has wronged me or anything. I don’t know if anyone can really get angry with cheese. It’s just that I haven’t been eating it very often. Kind of like a cheese drought in my stomach, if cheese was rain and I was a field or something.

    But the strike I’ve been on has come to an end with this recipe for baked rigatoni. I’ve never made it before, but savory recipes always seem so easy to just make up yourself, so that’s what I did. Three pounds* of cheese later, this is what happened.

    *Okay, it’s not really three pounds. But it kind of looks like it.

    In prepping for my pasta fest, I decided I wanted to try something new for this photo shoot. A wood backdrop always looks so rustic, so that’s what I set my sights on. I looked up Hobby Lobby in my phone, hoping to pick up something cheap, but then saw that it was further than a half mile, which was about as much distance as I was willing to devote to this endeavor. Home Depot was even further.

    There has got to be some plywood by a dumpster somewhere, I think. People are always discarding plywood in dumpsters. After they finish plying with it.  I’m not really sure what needs to be plied,or how you ply something with wood. But why else would you call it plywood?

    Had I known beforehand that plywood is generally nailed to other pieces of plywood, I may not have thought this idea was so great.

    There has got to be a plywood dumpster nearby, I muse. And I shall find it.

     So I get to a dumpster, and there’s all this wood, and I’m thinking fuck yeah, I’m a genius. I park my car and look at the wood, but it isn’t what I’m looking for. It’s heavy and large, there are nails coming out of it, and it may or may not be attached to the dumpster. I try to carry it to my car, but I can’t make it budge more than three inches. People are starting to watch, and I don’t want them to think I’m weak, so I play it off like I dropped my phone in there or something and leave.

    I get to the next dumpster and it’s pretty short, which is great, because – duh – so am I. So I’m standing on the ledge, which I assume is made for dumpster divers, and then this man walks up.

    Fuck, this has got to be illegal, I think in panic. He’s definitely going to call the cops. Look at him and his little dog, they are totally judging me right now. I bet they think I stole that car. And these clothes. Probably from a dumpster. I am so fucked.

    So I smile and wave, because waving makes people like you. Even when you’re in their dumpster.

    I fail to secure any wood, and return home defeated.

    What will I ever do to make these pictures look rustic, I think. How will I do it without pretty wood?

    I lay my head down on the kitchen table in shame of my failure.

    And that’s when I realize that my table is made of wood.

    Baked Rigatoni, by me.

    1 lb rigatoni pasta
    6 oz Gruyère
    6 oz sharp cheddar
    8 oz fresh mozzarella
    8 oz cremini mushrooms (buttons or baby bellas will work fine, too), sliced.
    6 Tbsp butter
    3 cloves garlic, minced
    ¼ c flour
    2c milk (I used 2%)
    ½ tsp salt
    ½ tsp pepper
    pinch of nutmeg
    Basil for garnish

    Preheat oven to 375. Grate Gruyère and sharp cheddar, then grate or dice fresh mozzarella. Set aside. Boil water and prepare pasta according to directions on package, but undercooking by 3-4 mins.

    While the pasta cooks, melt 1 Tbsp butter in an oven-safe skillet. Add 1 clove’s worth of the garlic and stir until very fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add in sliced mushrooms and saute until they begin to release water and shrink, about 5 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.

    Drain pasta.

    Melt 5 tbsp of butter in the same skillet. Add remaining garlic, stir for 30 seconds. Add flour and whisk constantly for 2-3 minutes to create a roux. When golden brown, add milk and continue to whisk for 1-2 minutes. Set aside ½ c of grated cheese and half of the fresh mozzarella. Dump remaining cheese into the sauce and stir for 3-4 minutes until cheese is melted and sauce has thickened. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.

    Add cooked pasta and mushrooms and toss thoroughly to coat. Top with remaining cheese and bake for 30-35 minutes until top is bubbling and golden brown.

    Serve immediately. Or if you’re me, serve years later, after all the photos have been taken.

    This recipe will also be entered in this month’s shine supper club contest, so be sure to check it out there as well!

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    I'm a 25-year-old ex-wife who spends most of her time cooking and chasing silly men around.

    28 Responses to Baked Rigatoni

    1. Simeen Alikhan Kazmi
      October 8, 2012 at 11:46 am

      Holy crap. I am super impressed you took the time for pictures before devouring that entire dish. I would have just jumped straight in with a fork.

      • Ring Finger Tan Line
        October 16, 2012 at 10:58 am

        I was actually waiting for friends to come over before I devoured it all. They were an hour late, so I took plenty of good shots! I also sent text messages reading “I should win an award in self control.” and “I ate all the pasta. You three are fucked.”

    2. October 9, 2012 at 1:20 am

      *grin* Loved your plywood story and love your recipe 😀

      • Ring Finger Tan Line
        October 16, 2012 at 10:58 am

        Thanks! I’m always finding myself in dumpsters for one reason or another.

    3. October 9, 2012 at 8:47 am

      Such beautiful photos! Love the wood 😉

      • Ring Finger Tan Line
        October 16, 2012 at 10:59 am

        Thank you – I hear wood is hard to come by these days 😉

    4. October 9, 2012 at 10:48 am

      Gruyere and mushrooms? Sign me up! This would also make a perfect contribution to this month’s Shine Supper Club!

      • Ring Finger Tan Line
        October 16, 2012 at 11:02 am

        Great idea – I had never heard of shine supper club before! will have to check it out

    5. Solaera
      October 10, 2012 at 1:19 pm

      Ha. You’re funny. This recipe looks so good…

      • Ring Finger Tan Line
        October 16, 2012 at 11:10 am

        Thanks – and it is :)

    6. JM
      October 12, 2012 at 5:26 pm

      Hahahahaha! I can tell this is going to be my new favorite blog. I love how you end the narrative part of your post with “I lay my head down on the kitchen table in shame of my failure. And that’s when I realize that my table is made of wood.”

      Love it and love the recipe!

      • Ring Finger Tan Line
        October 16, 2012 at 11:13 am

        Welcome to the RFTL family! So glad you found me.

    7. October 17, 2012 at 12:15 am

      This looks amazing! I bookmarked it. Love cheese and pasta together :)

    8. October 19, 2012 at 1:16 am

      Looks delish! I love me some pasta and cheese!

    9. susan
      October 21, 2012 at 11:40 pm

      is that sweet basil? not listed on recipe…
      and i too have a love-hate relationship with cheese—-don’t we all?!

      • Ring Finger Tan Line
        October 29, 2012 at 4:48 pm

        Yes – it is basil! Can’t believe I forgot to put it on there. Good catch. It’s really just for garnish, but I love the flavor of basil on pasta, too.

    10. Alena
      October 26, 2012 at 3:23 pm

      I’m so glad you won the Yahoo contest because now I know about your blog and can read it everyday while I’m pretending to work!

      • Ring Finger Tan Line
        October 29, 2012 at 4:57 pm

        I’m glad you found me! Hope you enjoy :)

    11. October 28, 2012 at 10:39 pm

      You are AWESOME!!! I love your up frontness!!! But, I feel a little stupid ~ I want to “subscribe” or “Follow” orrrr something to keep up with you and I can’t seem to see a way to do this ..I see facebook and I will do that but even as new recipes via email or something.. I guess I’m trying to say lol help me stay in contact with you .. This Recipe Is Awesome too!!! 😀 Thanks, Sheila

    12. alix
      November 11, 2012 at 8:09 pm

      I just made this tonight and it was absolutely delicious. I substituted provolone for gruyere because it is what I had on hand (I know, I know. It’s sad that I had that much other cheese on hand… what can I say. It’s delicious and always in stock in my apartment!) and it turned out absolutely wonderful! Excellent recipe — thanks much!

    13. November 12, 2012 at 2:03 pm

      This recipe looks AWESOME. You get an “A” for effort re the plywood. It’s nice that you waved at that man and his dog while you were at the dumpster. You’re a very considerate dumpster diver. Too funny….

      • Ring Finger Tan Line
        November 15, 2012 at 3:12 pm

        Haha thanks. I do what I can 😉

    14. Pingback: Happy Birthday, Ring Finger Tan Line. - Ring Finger Tan LineRing Finger Tan Line

    15. Lydia
      December 10, 2012 at 9:46 pm

      finally made this and it was AAAMAZING! Thanks for the recipe! I will definitely be making it again :)

    16. Martha
      January 7, 2013 at 3:05 pm

      Best recipe ever, my family and I LOVE this! THANK YOU!

      • Jackie
        March 2, 2014 at 9:07 pm

        Found you on pinterest and just made this tonight. One of the best pasta recipes I have ever made… And I make a lot of pasta! Thank you for sharing! And I love that it cooks in the same pan! Big added bonus. Will definitely be following your blog. You are hilarious.

    17. Mark
      July 10, 2014 at 9:55 am

      This was a great recipe. I just got divorced today from my wife. Not as bad as yours. But, reading your story picked up my day. I’m keeping this recipe as a secret weapon!

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