serves 4-6

ACTIVE TIME: 45 minutes

TOTAL TIME: 2 hours


 For the ground meat 

  •  1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 large onion chopped 
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped
  • 2 lb ground meat (turkey, chicken, pork or beef)
  • 1 carrot chopped
  • 1 zucchini chopped 
  • 1 eggplant chopped 
  • ½ cup red wine
  • 1 jar marinara sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon 
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the rigatoni

  • 1 box rigatoni
  • 1 cup mozzarella, grated
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 cup kaseri, grated



  1. Heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat. Cook the onion until soft, add the garlic, followed by the vegetables except for the tomatoes, and the spices. Cook to release the flavors.
  2. Add the meat and fry until fully cooked and no pink shows at all in the meat.
  3. Add the marinara and cook for 4-5 minutes. 
  4. Stir in the wine and allow to cook down.
  5.  Lower the heat and simmer for 15- 20 minutes.


  1. Preheat the oven to 380oF. 
  2. Cook the pasta in a large saucepan of boiling water for 7 minutes. Drain pasta and cool it quickly in cold running water. Place cooled pasta upright in a spring-form pan so the bottom is completely covered.
  3. Transfer the meat sauce to a bowl and use a hand mixer to blend the sauce slightly until evenly textured with no big chunks.
  4. Brush with some olive oil the spring-form and place the past in it. 
  5. Pour the sauce into the spring-form, ensuring that each rigatoni is filled. Bake for 20 minutes and then top the cake with cheese and continue baking 10 more minutes. 

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