- Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F).
- Cook the pasta in a large saucepan of boiling water for 7 minutes or until still slightly crunchy. Drain pasta and cool it quickly in cold water. When cooled, place pasta upright in a 23 cm (9 in.) spring form pan so the bottom is completely covered.
- Sauté the onion in oil in a saucepan. Add ground meat and fry until it has lost its pinkish hue. Add the marinara sauce, diced tomatoes, and herb mix. Stir well and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Transfer sauce to a bowl and use a hand-mixer to blend the sauce until smooth, with no big chunks.
- Pour the sauce into the pan, ensuring that each rigatoni is filled. Bake for 20 minutes and then cover with cheese and continue baking 10 more minutes. At the end of baking, light the broiler and leave the pan in the oven until the cheese becomes golden brown, about 5 more minutes.
Variation: Replace half the beef with ground lamb.
How little chefs can help
- Place pasta in the pan
- Pour sauce into the pasta with the help of a wooden spoon
- Top the cake with cheese