Mac and cheese gets an autumnal makeover in this rigatoni torte with fall vegetables.
rigatoni torte with fall vegetables

Here’s the secret of Italian food. And I’m allowed to tell you because I’m all born-and-bred 100% full-blooded and all that jazz. But if you tell anyone, well.

Let’s just say I know a few people in the “waste management” industry. Capisce?

JOKING. Breathe. Be calm. No one is going to get offed. Pinky swear.



But really. The secret is that Italians like to give fancy names to really simple foods.

They’re kind of lazy arrogant like that. They take a lot of pride in really stupid things. Like taking midday naps.

This is in direct contrast to the French who give their cuisine impossible-to-pronounce names because it is near impossible to make.

(Croissants. Need I say more?)


For instance, while “torte” literally means “cake” in Italian, this is actually a “what-would-happen-if-baked-ziti-and-mac-and-cheese-had-a-baby” kind of situation and not really a “cake-made-of-pasta” kind of situation.

And doesn’t that just sound so much more manageable?

This “torte” does kind of step it up by using butternut squash soup in place of tomato sauce and getting stuffed with all the end of summer/fall vegetables. All of which I was able to buy locally (boo-yah for leaving a smaller carbon footprint!).

And it’s baked in a springform pan. Which….I guess makes it a cake and definitely makes it seem much more impressive? Though if you want to dispense with all of this posturing, you can totally bake it in a 9×13-inch pan and it will still be just as fantastical.


One year ago…Lasagna Soup, Curried Red Lentil Burgers with Mango Slaw

Rigatoni Torte with Fall Vegetables
Mac and cheese gets an autumnal makeover in this rigatoni torte with fall vegetables.
Yield: 6-8 servings
  • 3 sprigs fresh sage
  • 1 medium eggplant, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 1 large leek, white and green parts sliced
  • 12 oz broccoli, cut into 1½-inch florets
  • 1 lb rigatoni
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 32 oz butternut squash soup
  • 2 cups grated Gruyere, divided
  • 1 tsp truffle oil
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 10-inch springform pan with cooking spray. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and set aside.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil with the sage in it. Add the eggplant to the pot and boil, covered, for 5 minutes. Remove eggplant with a slotted spoon.
  3. Add the leek slices to the same pot of water and boil for 2 minutes. Remove to a bowl. Add the broccoli to the pot and boil for 1 minute. Remove to a bowl. Discard the sage leaves.
  4. Bring the water back to a boil and cook the rigatoni for 3 minutes less than it's recommended cooking time. Drain, rinse under cold water, and transfer to a large bowl.
  5. Heat the butternut squash soup over medium heat. Stir in the flour and simmer until starting to thicken. Stir in half of the gruyere, simmering until melted. Mix the vegetables, pasta, and truffle oil into the sauce. Season to taste with salt.
  6. Pour ⅓ of the pasta/veggie mix into the springform pan. Top with half of the ricotta cheese. Repeat with another layer of pasta and the remaining ricotta. Top with the remaining pasta and sprinkle with the gruyere.
  7. Bake for 30 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the top is browned. Let stand for 5 minutes before unmolding and cutting.
Adapted from Vegetarian Times
Nutrition Information
Serving size: ⅛th of recipe


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71 Responses to Rigatoni Torte with Fall Vegetables

  1. Candace says:

    I have got to make this!

  2. I love that you baked this in a springform pan – what a great idea!
    And for a fall mac n’ cheese dish, there’s pretty much nothing better than making it butternut squash flavored. And the use of soup to do that? Brilliant.

  3. patsy says:

    I love baked pasta dishes! The switch to butternut squash soup over tomato sauce really makes this a perfect dish for fall!

  4. Trisha says:

    One of my all time favorite recipes of yours is the baked butternut squash/kale/gruyere pasta that you made a year ago. This reminds me of that, but I love the extra veggies and the ease of using pre-made butternut squash soup!

  5. Marygrace says:

    Hello, comfort food. Would it be appropriate to make this entire torte just for myself?

  6. I want a giant slice of this torte, and I love the fancy name:-)

  7. bellini says:

    What’s not to love in this dish. I love the lack of tomato sauce and much steal that idea.

  8. holy moly this looks absolutely incredible! I do indulge in regular pasta every now and then, and this is totally worth it!

  9. SallyBR says:

    “Someone” is carbo-loading, i suppose… 😉

    Thinking of you and best wishes for a great run…. keep us all posted!

  10. Autumnal mac and cheese! This looks soooo good. Love the butternut squash soup base, truffle oil, and ricotta – some of my favorite things!

  11. Ok.hai detto bene!! This pasta is favolosa !! Grazie !!

  12. danielle says:

    I love the idea of replacing the tomato sauce with butternut squash soup – pinning this one it looks gorgeous too!

  13. butternut squash from the farmers market has been staring at me – now I know what to do

  14. Monica says:

    Love your torte (or whatever we call it). Great idea with the butternut squash soup. There is something about pasta that is just so warm and satisfying. This is definitely that!

  15. Pasta, Veggies, Cheese – my 3 go to favorite food types to make one delicious meal! This looks fab.

  16. I’ve read couple of Vegetarian Times and tried their vegan recipes, most of them didn’t work out well. I suppose the vegetarian recipes suit the magazine well 😉 I love rigatoni pasta dishes with a bit of truffle and Parmela parmesan and other recipes

  17. This looks like cheesy vegetable perfection! *someone* broke my springform pan, but I’ll definitely have to make this in a casserole dish! Yum.

  18. I could literally lose myself in this torte, Joanne. Very nicely done!!

  19. A springform pan is so smart for this! Just as smart as those Italians with their fancy names for things. 🙂

  20. Abby says:

    dropping truffle oil on me like that! no big deal 🙂 This looks amazing! I never would have thought soup=sauce.

  21. Jessie says:

    I’m giving you the side-eye because I don’t believe there won’t be “consequences” to revealing this secret. I’m going to have to dig up my spring form pan so that I can make this delicious torte. Also, truffle oil. Enough said.

  22. Kristi says:

    Um, this looks so good. I’ve been feeling like mac and cheese lately, but haven’t made it yet and now I know why. I was waiting for a recipe just like this.

  23. Victoria says:

    AND you added truffle oil too! This looks so tasty! I trust the Italian in you to school me on this torte, haha.

  24. This is definitely one to pin! I love that you injected this mac and cheese FULL of veggies! Hooray for healthy and decadent!

  25. sandra says:

    hilarious – I was at a friend’s house, another 100% Italian, and he made a frittata that was in essence leftover spaghetti dinner, sauce and all, served with scrambled eggs mixed in and crisped in a frying pan.

  26. Megan says:

    I am SO coming to your house for dinner. I have been craving fall veggies and this would be just the thing I need right now!

  27. Italians make Parmigiano-Reggiano and are therefore the smartest people alive. I will listen to anything they say. The end.

  28. I have been craving a pasta and cheese dish and this is screaming my name Joanne!

  29. Pam says:

    It looks so gourmet and decadent. I have a feeling this didn’t last long in your house.

  30. Kate says:

    okay – this is bordering on ridiculous. You’ll never guess what we’re having as a side dish with dinner tonight. Pasta and cheese with broccoli.

  31. Susan says:

    It was essentially the cheese on top and that ricotta chunk on the side that go me and I love the idea of using a springform pan. Makes it all fancy and stuff to present.

  32. Hotly Spiced says:

    I agree with you re the French! This is a very yummy looking Italian dinner that I know would be loved by everyone in my family. I love your presentation xx

  33. Woah- this looks amazing. I am such a sucker for cozy, melty pasta dishes and this one looks so beautiful and delicious!

  34. What a gorgeous dish! It totally screams autumn right here! I love the color and that cheesiness. Looks incredible Joanne!

  35. Dat cheese! I want to curl up inside that pan and never leave.

  36. The introduction to this recipe made me literally LOL. When you tell people you’re Italian, they automatically think “Sopranos” and I’d be lying if I said I sometimes don’t appreciate that and (oops!) forget to correct them….But really saying you’re Italian is code for “I know how to make simple food amazeballs”. I loooove this idea for a fancy-looking meal that looks so easy to pull off!

  37. You had me at truffle oil. It’s a guilty pleasure of mine, as long as it’s the good stuff and not overly synthetic. I actually found this truffle salt that I am pretty crazy about!

  38. Love your use of butternut squash soup instead of tomato soup – makes this look so great! I am not a huge pasta lover – but, Joanne, your pasta dishes have me drooling!

  39. Girrrrrl, I love this. Definitely simpler than the name! And there’s soup in it?! COOL!

  40. Tahnycooks says:

    Oh my gosh you’re funny! This looks so crazy good! I love that you used butternut squash, delish!

  41. Cheesy and delicious, full of healthy vegetables as well 😀

    Choc Chip Uru

  42. Maria says:

    I made this tonight and strongly recommend using some blue or gorgonzola in there, too!

  43. I can’t even look at this…partially because I’m starving right now and partially because I want it right this second but will have to settle for toast…empty fridge problems!

  44. Shannon says:

    fancy names can definitely get you excited about something ordinary, so i’m all over it 🙂 if only i was creative enough to come up with my own! love all the veggies and cheese in this!

  45. Tracey says:

    OMG, seriously?! This is the stuff of my dreams – all that fall goodness! Sadly Shane wouldn’t touch it so I’ll have to wait until I can have some friends over to help me eat it. Or I could just show up at your house next time it’s on the menu 🙂

  46. Nutmeg Nanny says:

    Oh my god, this looks dreamy 🙂 perfect comfort food for a chilly evening!

  47. Monet says:

    Whatever you call it, I want to eat it! This looks so good Joanne! My pasta loving husband would be over the moon if I made this for us!

  48. This looks amazing. I am with Monet on this one – I want to eat it too.

  49. I’m impressed just with ‘rigatoni’ as a pasta name. Put it with torte and the title is fancier than even the French can come up with…but as you say, refreshingly achievable to make 🙂

  50. cquek says:

    You’ve got me wanting to try everything! Thanks for sharing.

  51. Wonderfully put about Italian food. We are heading to Sicily on Saturday….

  52. Lynn says:

    This looks so good – and I have a springform pan. Yum.

  53. This looks amazing, and I love how it’s actually easier to make than it sounds! Torte sounded like a big cake made of macaronis or something haha 😉

  54. Love all of the veggies stuffed into this pasta dish! So good!

  55. Great way to use butternut squash soup!

  56. Joanne, you make the most tempting and comforting food. Love to curl up on my sofa, watch TV and eat a bowl of this cheesy goodness.

  57. I’m drooling over this dish…especially the cheesiness 🙂

  58. katie zeller says:

    Personally, I think Mac & Cheese is very over-rated… This torte, on the other hand…. now we’re talking something totally calorie worthy! Pinned

  59. Eileen says:

    Yes please! Break out the squash and pasta! The whole cakeification step seems like it would make for the best possible presentation. 🙂

  60. KATHY says:

    Drool worthy! I can’t wait to give this a try…looks scrumptious!

  61. Before fall is up, I wanna make pumpkin or butternut squash pasta… love it with all those veggies.

  62. Melissa says:

    Yum. I found my Sunday night recipe!

  63. Ashley says:

    Pasta in cake form. I love it!! 🙂

  64. This looks so nice and cheesy and good! Yum!

  65. This looks so delicious, Joanne!! Wow!

  66. Meredith says:

    I just made this and it smells so good! It’s still cooking but I have a feeling it’s going to be excellent!

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