Baked Rigatoni-Grandma style

Well there is a story that goes with this one.

This was a favorite of my dads and so mom made it often for all of us. To this day it is requested by my sisters family when mom goes up to visit. So when I was thinking of recipes to include for old time favorites, I thought that I had to include this. But I have never actually made it. (for reasons to follow)

I called mom.

“Could you please make it and send me the picture?” (yes, I am that lazy).

“What? Nope, make it yourself! I never make that just for me. I don’t even eat it. It was your dads favorite”.


Well, I guess I could make it for once. The boys might like it. I like it. So why have I never made it? Well, for one thing, it involves “Velveeta”. Yes. What is that stuff anyway? I think of it as an embarrassment of American cuisine. Like, um, Crisco. Or Twinkies. Velveeta, bright orange and completely artificial. Cheese in a box? Yes, and you know what? It is wonderful. Melty, creamy. I only buy it every few years and try not to waste too much energy worrying about it. Makes the best grilled um, cheese, sandwiches. Its the secret ingredient (sorry auntie) in Aunt Jo Anns Tuna and Noodles.(the dish, not the cats). God help me, but I love the stuff. I remember standing at my moms elbows when she was cooking with it, waiting for her to slip us kids a chunk of soft, orange pseudo-cheese. Yummers!

The other reason I never make it goes back a ways too. the “big muffins” were still  little kids. I had a block of Velveeta and not being much of a cook, this looked mucho easy. Few ingredients, how hard could it be?  I cooked it up, took it out of the oven. Got everyone to the table, took a big bite…

Yep, I messed this easy recipe up.

Blech! Ptooie! It was sweet! Nasty, sticky sweet! How was I to know that evaporated milk was not the same as sweetened condensed milk? They looked almost the same! It says “condensed” milk on the recipe! They were both canned milk product. Ugh!

Looks like cereal night again.

The kids were happy.

I never went back to it that recipe again. Of course, I did made mac n cheese with it and that is mostly the same thing anyway, right?

so here is Grandma Janets recipe. Although its not written down, she usually adds cooked italian sausage. You could add diced ham or chicken too.

  • about 1 lb. Velveta
  • 3/4 cup evaporated milk (now the recipe my mom copied out for me does actually say “condensed” milk, so the confusion is understandable, right? Even if evaporated and condensed are the same thing.)
  • 1 lb. package of rigatoni
  • salt/pepper/onion powder (or diced onion, which as kids we hated)

So, get a large pot of water boiling for the pasta. In a saucepan, heat the evaporated milk. Cube up the Velveta and drop it into the evaporated milk. Put on medium low heat and watch it melt into an orange sauce. Add the seasoning to it.

When the water boils, salt it, add the rigatoni and, stirring occasionally, cook for 13-15 minutes. Drain.

Pour the pasta into a 9 x 13 baking pan and pour your “cheese” sauce on top of it, stirring it in. Once mixed, top with Parmesan or crushed cracker crumbs. Pop into a 375 oven for about 30 minutes. Or under the broiler for a few minutes until bubbly and lightly browned.

Mine came out a little dry, I think I would add 1 whole cup of evap milk next time, but I wanted to give you the original recipe. It might have been the way I did it. You need to know that I never was much of a cook. I did not grow up helping in the kitchen or even remotely interested in cooking. So I have come a long way baby. And still now, I can get dry baked rigatoni.


2 thoughts on “Baked Rigatoni-Grandma style

  1. Actually, this recipe started with your Dad’s Father. He made it when your dad was a little boy. I have fine tuned it a bit but the coo-dow’s go the your great grandpa Rudolph Flaton.

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