Baked rigatoni with meatballs

Prep Time: 25 minutes | Cook Time: 45 minutes | Total Time: 1h 10 minutes | Serves: 6 - 8

This dish from Chef Lynn Crawford (@chef_lynn) will have you coming back for more! To cut down your prep time, make the confit garlic, Chef Lynn’s Old Bay seasoning, and marinara sauce in advance.


For the Baked Rigatoni and Meatballs

  1. 1 pound (450 g) ground pork
  2. 1 pound (450 g) ground beef
  3. ¾ cup minced white onion
  4. 3 tablespoons confit garlic or 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
  5. 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  6. ½ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  7. 2 teaspoons Chef Lynn’s old bay seasoning or store-bought
  8. 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  9. 1 pound (450g) dried rigatoni
  10. 8 ounces (225g) fresh mozzarella cheese, torn into 1-inch pieces
  11. 3 cups marinara sauce or store-bought
  12. 1 cup ricotta cheese
  13. ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese, more for garnish
  14. ¼ cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves, for garnish

For the Marinara Sauce

  1. 1 can (28 ounces/796 mL) whole San Marzano tomatoes
  2. 1 cup water
  3. ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  4. 6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  5. 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  6. Pinch of red chili flakes
  7. 2 large sprigs of fresh basil

For the Confit Garlic
Makes about 1 cup

  1. 1 cup peeled cloves garlic
  2. ½ cup canola oil
  3. ½ cup olive oil
  4. ½ teaspoon kosher salt

Chef Lynn’s Old Bay Seasoning
Makes about ¼ cup

  1. 1 tablespoon celery salt
  2. 1 teaspoon ground celery seeds
  3. 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  4. 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  5. 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  6. 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  7. ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  8. ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  9. ⅛ teaspoon ground allspice
  10. ⅛ teaspoon ground cardamom
  11. ⅛ teaspoon ground cayenne
  12. ⅛ teaspoon ground mace


For the Baked Rigatoni and Meatballs

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the pork, beef, onion, confit garlic, breadcrumbs, parsley, Old Bay seasoning, and eggs. Mix well. Roll the mixture into tablespoon-size balls between wet palms to form 30 meatballs. Place the meatballs on the prepared baking sheet and bake until browned and fully cooked through, 12 to 15 minutes.
  3. While the meatballs are baking, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. When the water is boiling, add the rigatoni and cook until very al dente, about 7 minutes. Drain the pasta and reserve in a strainer.
  4. In a 13 x 9-inch baking dish, spread half of the pasta in an even layer. Arrange half of the meatballs and mozzarella evenly over the pasta. Evenly spoon half of the marinara sauce over the top. Repeat with the remaining pasta, meatballs, mozzarella and sauce. Top with spoonful’s of the ricotta and the Parmesan cheese.
  5. Cover with foil and bake for about 25 minutes. Uncover and bake for 5 more minutes.
  6. Set the oven to broil. Broil until the top is lightly browned. Remove from the oven and let it stand for 5 minutes. Serve garnished with basil and extra Parmesan.

For the Marinara Sauce

  1. Pour the tomatoes into a large bowl and crush with your hands. Pour the water into the can and swirl to get all the tomato juices; set aside.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the garlic. Stir the garlic with a wooden spoon for 1 minute, until golden, then add the tomatoes, reserved tomato water, salt, sugar and chili flakes. Stir together.
  3. Add the basil sprigs, including stems, and simmer until the sauce has thickened and the oil on the surface is a deep orange, about 15 minutes. Remove the basil and discard. Keep the sauce warm until ready to serve.

For the Confit Garlic

  1. Preheat the oven to 300°F.
  2. Place the garlic cloves in a heavy medium ovenproof pot. Pour the canola oil and olive oil over the garlic, adding more oil if needed to cover it, then add the salt. Cover, transfer to the oven and bake until the garlic cloves are pale gold and tender, about 50 minutes. Cool to room temperature.
  3. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the garlic cloves to a food processor and process until smooth. Alternatively, transfer the cloves to a bowl and mash with the side of a knife. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 month or freeze for up to 3 months.

For Chef Lynn’s Old Bay Seasoning

  1. In a small bowl, combine the ingredients and stir thoroughly. Store in an airtight container for up to 4 months.

What you'll need

Culinary Showdown logo

Chef Lynn Crawford is confirmed as one of the celebrity chef’s participating in the Epilepsy South Central Ontario’s second Culinary Showdown on Saturday, Nov. 20. For more information, please visit