One Pot Rigatoni Bolognese in a Dutch oven with celery, parmesan and serving utensils

One Pot Rigatoni Bolognese

One pot pasta recipes are always my go-to on those absolutely crazy days, and dinner prep is incredibly quick and easy with this One Pot Rigatoni Bolognese! Everything cooks in one pot for quick prep and easy clean up – even the pasta cooks right in the sauce. Some call me a lazy cook, but I like to call myself efficient ;-)
For more one pot pasta recipes with ground beef, see my One Skillet Lasagna or my One Pot Cheesy Taco Pasta!
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mediterranean
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 - 6
Calories 450kcal
Author Nora Rusev



  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 medium yellow onion finely chopped
  • 1 carrot finely chopped
  • 1 celery stalk finely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 3 - 4 cups water can use broth if you prefer
  • 1 can (28-oz) diced tomatoes
  • 1 box (16-oz) rigatoni pasta uncooked
  • Grated parmesan to serve


  • Brown the beef: Heat oil in a medium-large Dutch oven. Brown the beef.
  • Cook the vegetables: Add the finely chopped vegetables to the pot with the beef and cook over medium heat, stirring often, until softened (about 2-3 minutes).
  • Season and deglaze: Add the garlic powder, Italian seasoning and tomato paste to the pan. Stir until mixed in well. Pour in 3 cups water or broth, scratching the browned bits off the bottom of the pan.
  • Cook the pasta: Add the diced tomatoes and uncooked pasta to the skillet, making sure to stir everything in until the pasta is covered with liquid. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the pasta is done, about 10-15 minutes. Add up to one more cup of water during cooking, as needed. Serve with grated parmesan.


Ingredient Notes:

Ground beef: I always use lean ground beef for this, but you can use crumbled Italian sausage in place of the ground beef if you prefer.
Pasta: This recipe works with most pasta shapes that cook in around 10 minutes (I do not recommend instant varieties, or very small or thin shapes, they usually need less liquid to cook and the pasta will stay soupy), though I do love rigatoni a lot with bolognese sauce

Cooking Tips:

No pre-cooking the pasta! I always get comments on my one pot pasta recipes turning out soupy, and usually it’s because the pasta was pre-cooked – do NOT pre-cook the pasta!
Chopping the vegetables: When cooking with little kids around, I like to get all of the prep work done ahead of time. Sometimes I even chop veggies during nap time in the morning!
Here, you need to chop onion, carrot and celery. These are relatively easy to clean and prep. Did you know that it’s easier to peel an onion after rinsing it? It kind of sticks the peel together so it doesn’t annoyingly flutter everywhere.
Chop everything quite small so it softens quickly during cooking. And to be even more lazy, I usually throw it all in my food processor and pulse a few times until it’s chopped up. So easy!
Make sure to sauté the tomato paste for a few minutes: Stir the tomato paste into the pot and seasoning and cook for another minute – it is important to roast the tomato paste before adding any liquids, to give it a richer flavor.


I always get asked if one pot pasta can be made ahead and frozen, or if leftovers freeze well.
Personally, I tend to say no. Because the pasta will continue soaking up the sauce and you’ll end up with very mushy pasta.
If you want to prep this before baby or in similar situations, and you don’t mind softer pasta, you can make this and freeze it in a casserole dish.
Reheat in the oven at 360°F covered with foil for about an hour (no need to defrost). Sprinkle with cheese and bake uncovered for another 10-15 minutes, until the cheese is bubbly and the casserole is piping hot all the way through.


  • make sure to use containers or bags suitable for freezing
  • label with the name and use-by date (freeze for up to 3 months)
  • reheat until piping hot all the way through before serving


Turning leftovers into a pasta casserole is the best way to reheat leftovers here.
Refrigerate any leftovers in a casserole dish for up to 2 days. Sprinkle with cheese and bake for 15-20 minutes at 400°F, or until hot and bubbly.


We have little kids, so this serves 6 for us. If you have bigger eaters, it's closer to 4. Also, if you have teen boys, this serves 1 😉
Nutrition estimate is for 6 servings.


Calories: 450kcal | Carbohydrates: 67g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 47mg | Sodium: 182mg | Potassium: 866mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 2050IU | Vitamin C: 17mg | Calcium: 92mg | Iron: 5mg