I am a big fan of baked pasta dishes.  They are both fundamentally simple and tasty at the same time.  I need simplicity in my life, and a baked pasta dish for dinner provides that luxury.

Today’s recipe is made vegetarian, but you could easily add chicken and/or substitute the vegetable broth for chicken broth.  To make the dish a lighter healthier option, you could also cut the cheese down by half and/or use light mozzarella cheese instead of whole milk mozzarella.  No matter what you choose, the dish is bound to be delicious!

Baked Caprese Rigatoni

1 cup fresh basil leaves (chopped or torn) divided
4 cloves garlic (minced)
1 3/4 cup grape tomatoes (cut in half)
3 cups uncooked rigatoni pasta
3 cups vegetable broth
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups shredded whole milk mozzarella (divided)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

Combine 1/2 cup of basil, garlic, tomatoes, uncooked pasta, salt, and 1 cup shredded mozzarella in a bowl and mix. Pour ingredients into baking dish and pour vegetable broth over the ingredients. Cover tightly with foil and place in oven to bake for approximately 45 mins or until pasta is al dente.

Remove the dish from the oven, stir and top with remaining cup of mozzarella cheese. Return dish to oven and allow to bake approximately 5 minutes or until cheese is melted. Remove from oven and sprinkle with remaining fresh basil.

Viola! Dinner is served!