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Cooking + Entertaining

Neapolitan baked pasta: the recipe for a rich and tasty Sunday starter

Neapolitan baked pasta: the recipe for a rich and tasty Sunday starter


fresh provola (or mozzarella)

Diced Naples-style salami

extra virgin olive oil

There Neapolitan baked pasta it’s a first tasty and succulent typical of the Neapolitan culinary tradition. A recipe that smells of Sunday and lunches at grandma’s, prepared with different ingredients depending on which family is keeping the secret.

Here we opted for the richer and heartier version, made with fried meatballs, hard boiled eggs crumble, salami cubes, ricotta, cubes of provola and grated parmesan, layered in a baking dish with the rigatoni, cooked al dente then flavored with the tomato sauce. The result, after baking, will be a gourmet and delicious dish, with a delicious crispy crust on the surface, which will please the whole family.

Baked pasta, for an impeccable result, must be cooked to perfection: to avoid overcooking the rigatoni and thus obtain an unpleasant “sticky effect”, our suggestion is to drain them a few minutes before the time indicated on the package. For a perfect gratin, don’t forget to sprinkle the last layer generously with grated cheese and then mix it, for an even more fragrant result, with a handful of breadcrumbs.

We have reduced the ricotta in a bowl with a little sauce, but if you prefer you can also put it directly on the pasta in clumps: the important thing, before proceeding with the preparation, is to collect it in a fine mesh colander and to let the whey drip off.

Find out how to prepare Neapolitan baked pasta by following the step-by-step procedure and tips. If you liked this recipe, try some other delicious variations on the theme.

How to prepare Neapolitan baked pasta

Brown the chopped onion in a pan with a drizzle of oil; then add the tomato puree 1 and cook the sauce for about 3 hours, covered with a lid and stirring occasionally. Halfway through cooking, add the salt.

Prepare the meatballs: let the stale bread soften in a small bowl with a little warm water. In a separate bowl, collect the minced meat, egg, parsley, onion and minced garlic, and season with salt and pepper. Then add the softened and well-pressed bread, and mix all the ingredients with the tines of a fork 2.

At the end you will have to obtain a soft and homogeneous mixture 3.

Shape the prepared dough into several hazelnut-sized meatballs 4.

Fry the meatballs in a pan with plenty of boiling seed oil 5.

When they are golden and fragrant, remove them with a slotted spoon and let them dry on a sheet of paper towel 6.

Pour a ladle of sauce into a bowl, add the well-drained ricotta from the whey and mix everything well until you get a creamy mixture 7.

Boil the pasta in plenty of lightly salted boiling water, drain until al dente and transfer to a bowl; then cover it with tomato sauce 8.

Pour a little sauce at the bottom of a baking dish and make a first layer with the rigatoni 9.

Season with the hard-boiled eggs, peeled and cut into quarters, and the fried meatballs ten.

Add the ricotta cream in clumps and the salami in cubes 11.

Add the provola and sprinkle with grated parmesan 12.

Repeat the same sequence of layers and cover with more sauce 13.

Sprinkle the surface with grated parmesan 14.

Place in a preheated oven at 190°C and bake for approximately 35 minutes, or until a golden crust has formed on the surface 15.

Once the cooking time has elapsed, take the cooked Neapolitan pasta out of the oven and divide it among the individual plates. 16and the server is hot and running.


Instead of rigatoni you can choose paccheri, conchiglioni, mezze maniche or other pasta of your taste, provided that short form: more suitable for capturing all the seasoning.

To take advantage of the preparation time you can also make the sauce the day before or, in season, you can prepare it with fresh tomatoes: cook strictly over low heat and with a handful of chopped basil to fully appreciate all its flavor.

We fried the meatballs in boiling seed oil to make them crispy and mouth-watering, but for a lighter yield you can also flavor them directly in the tomato sauce. In any case, for a richer taste, our advice is to use mixed ground meatmaybe beef and pork.


Neapolitan cooked pasta can be stored in the refrigerator, in an airtight container, for 1-2 days massive.

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