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What to eat with rigatoni?

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Similar shape as ziti and penne, rigatoni is shorter, wider, is slightly ridged and has square-cut ends. Due to its deep ridged and broad surface, sauce clings well to the surface of the thick and hearty noodle shape, especially with meat sauces and thin tomato sauce. 

What to eat with rigatoni? Depending on what sauce is served with rigatoni, the sides may vary. 

If the rigatoni is served with chunky and hearty meat sauce, consider pairing with garlic bread, meatball, steamed vegetables and Italian salads.

When serving with tomato based sauces, consider adding healthy protein such as chicken, meatloaf, roasted vegetables, salad, and baguette.

Nothing beats the al dente chew of rigatoni. Not only is it sweet, but can also hold up sauces and cheese, thanks to its ridges and expansive center. 

This ultimate comfort food will make you feel full, and the good news is, it can be paired with almost anything and everything. From cheese and protein to sauces and vegetables, the list of classic pairings is endless, and this article focuses on the side dishes to pair with rigatoni.

What flavor goes well with rigatoni?

Rigatoni should be eaten with protein, vegetables, cheeses, and sauces to improve its flavor and texture. The ridges on the outside and its hollowness hold sauces and cheeses perfectly. 

Fresh salad or roasted vegetables add crunch and sweet taste to the meal. And serving a slice of garlic bread or baguette can help to scoop any remaining sauce in a bundle.

With this in mind, here are classic flavor that goes well with rigatoni.

  • rigatoni + Italian sausage + mozzarella cheese + marinara sauce
  • rigatoni + mushroom + zucchini + tomatoes 
  • rigatoni + white wine + chicken + garlic + pesto + pine nuts
  • rigatoni + balsamic vinegar + asparagus
  • rigatoni + fennel + anchovies + orange + lemon + red pepper flakes + olive oil

What protein goes well with rigatoni?

Rigatoni is incomplete without added protein. Whether it is served in tomato, creamy, or oil based sauce, added protein is need that will complement the sauce, cheese or vegetables:

What vegetables go well with rigatoni?

As a side, steamed or roasted vegetables as well as salad make for an excellent dish to serve with rigatoni as a meal. It helps to balance both nutritionally and flavorfully. 

In addition, vegetables add crunch to pasta. Some veggies to pair with rigatoni include:

  • lettuce
  • cucumber
  • zucchini
  • broccoli
  • shallot
  • asparagus
  • bell pepper
  • eggplant
  • cauliflower
  • celery
  • brussels sprouts

What cheese goes well with rigatoni?

Pasta isn’t complete without a sprinkle of cheese on top or mixed into the sauce to make it rich and creamy. Rigatoni makes it easy to scoop the sauce and cheese in every bite because the noodle shape is the perfect bite size. 

But what cheese is perfect for rigatoni? Let’s find out!

  • Mozzarella: No other Italian dishes go well with mozzarella cheese quite like rigatoni. It melts perfectly and gives it a creamy base that everyone loves.
  • Parmesan: It is the classic choice when it comes to rigatoni because it is perfect for melting and grating as well. When it comes to using parmesan cheese as a topping or in the sauce, be sure to only pair it with tomato-based dishes.
  • Gorgonzola: Blue cheese is not always a favorite, however gorgonzola is the go-to for those with a taste for bold and solid flavors. It’s a soft blue cheese variety with unmatched creaminess.
  • Ricotta: This cheese is creamy and thick. Adding it to rigatoni creates the creamy pasta finish that everyone craves.
  • Feta: Feta cheese doesn’t melt perfectly to make a sauce, but it adds a savory and salty taste to rigatoni as a topping.

What sauce goes well with rigatoni?

Selecting a pasta shape to suit the right sauce makes a big difference for the finished dish. In classic cuisine terms, rigatoni pairs well with big chunkier and hearty sauces due to its wide center and ridges used to capture the sauce perfectly. 

Here are the best sauces to pair with rigatoni:

What wine goes well with rigatoni?

A glass of good wine goes a long way in elevating the pasta dish, especially with rigatoni. However, the wine pairing may vary depending on the sauce.

The best wines to pair with rigatoni include:

  • Creamy: Soave, Bianco di Custoza, Pinot Bianco, Sicilian whites, Chardonnay
  • Seafood: Frascati, Verdicchio, Soave, Chardonnay
  • Tomato: Pinot Grigio, Verdicchio, light Sicilian red
  • Bolognese: Sicilian, Puglia red, Sangiovese, Barbera, Zinfandel
  • Green Pesto: Gavi, Soave, Verdicchio
  • Red Pesto: Merlot, Montepuciano d’Abruzzo, Sangiovese
  • Spicy: Primitivo, Sicilian red, Zinfandel
  • Beans or lentils: Orvieto, Vernaccia di San Gimignano
What to eat with rigatoni

Eat with Rigatoni: Conclusion

With the right sauce and cheese, rigatoni tastes good on its own, but even better with side dishes and beverages. Thanks to its versatility, it can be paired with a variety of sauces, vegetables, proteins, cheese and wines.

Always go for a dish that complements rigatoni without overpowering it. Meat or tomato based sauces are the classic to serve with rigatoni, but explore more creativity with pesto, alfredo, or seafood based olive oil pasta.

With tomato sauce, you can add chicken, sausage, ground beef or turkey to incorporate more protein into the dish. A fresh salad or roasted vegetables are also an excellent side dish.

The pasta benefits from a topping of grated cheese or cheese sauce, so consider using mozzarella, parmesan, gorgonzola, ricotta, and feta cheese. Use cheese with mild and subtle flavor that does not overpower the rigatoni dish.

Serving the pasta dish with a glass of wine will help to make the meal more complete. Select the wine based on the type of sauce that you are serving to get the best pairing. 

Be sure to play with multiple combinations to identify what works best for you and your family!

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