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Creamy Spinach & Rigatoni Bake

Macaroni and cheese is one of the ultimate comfort foods. My recipe gives it an Italian twist. —Tammy Rex, New Tripoli, Pennsylvania
  • Total Time
    Prep: 25 min. Bake: 20 min.
  • Makes
    10 servings


  • 1 package (16 ounces) rigatoni
  • 8 ounces sliced pancetta, chopped
  • 3/4 cup butter, cubed
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 5-1/4 cups 2% milk
  • 4 cups shredded Italian cheese blend
  • 1 can (14 ounces) water-packed artichoke hearts, rinsed, drained and chopped
  • 1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese


  • Preheat oven to 375°. Cook rigatoni according to package directions.
  • Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook pancetta over medium heat until crisp, stirring occasionally. Remove with a slotted spoon; drain on paper towels. Discard drippings; wipe skillet clean.
  • In same pan, heat butter over medium-high heat. Add onion; cook and stir until tender. Stir in flour, salt and pepper until blended; gradually whisk in milk. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly; cook and stir until thickened, 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in cheese blend until melted.
  • Stir in artichokes, spinach and pancetta. Drain rigatoni; add to cheese sauce. Transfer to a greased 13x9-in. baking dish; sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
  • Bake, uncovered, until golden brown and bubbly, 20-25 minutes.
Nutrition Facts
1-1/4 cups: 643 calories, 35g fat (20g saturated fat), 99mg cholesterol, 1438mg sodium, 53g carbohydrate (8g sugars, 3g fiber), 28g protein.

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Average Rating:
  • JTCooksOK
    Apr 9, 2020

    Reminded me of the spinach/artichoke hot dip that I made baked in the oven. It is rich and delicious. Lots of cheese just the way I like it. What can I say better than fried pancetta, and pasta, nothing better.

  • Kelly
    Dec 8, 2019

    This was really good, but the amount of béchamel was way too much. The pasta was almost lost in all of it. If I made this again I would cut it in 1/2 so it would be a little lighter. I also used chicken instead of pancetta. I would increase the artichoke hearts too since they got lost in all the pasta and sauce.

  • Lisa
    Oct 27, 2019

    I used evaporated milk because that is what I had on hand... not a good substitution. Yuck.

  • dinglefritz
    Feb 14, 2019

    Absolutely excellent! I didn't have pancetta, so I used bacon. I will be making this again and again and again.

  • Albert
    Jan 7, 2019

    Turned out amazing would definitely recommend this!

  • Patricia
    Feb 27, 2017

    I followed the directions. It was great. We called it Adult Mac n Cheese. Will make again.

  • brianneosborn
    Feb 5, 2017

    This was great!I did make some changes:I added diced portobello mushrooms, used a 12 oz bag of spinach instead of 10, and subbed turkey pepperoni because pancetta in our area stores is outside of our budget. I also didn't buy enough of the Italian cheese blend, so I used a Mexican blend we had on hand to make up the balance.It still turned out delicious, and it made enough that I divided it into three pans, giving us supper plus two freezer meals.