Cook the famous Vesuvio di Rigatoni from Don Alfonso 1890 with Chef Ernesto Iaccarino

Bring the fresh, bright, and uplifting flavours of Italy’s Amalfi Coast into your kitchen with a digital gourmet affair led by Chef Ernesto Iaccarino.

Chef Ernesto Iaccarino

Chef Ernesto Iaccarino will show you how to prepare the delectable Vesuvio di Rigatoni, featured on the menu at each location of his family’s world-famous Don Alfonso 1890 restaurants. 


This is a truly special dish that is both fun to make and delicious to devour with loved ones, deriving its name from its volcanic shape that pays homage to Mount Vesuvius. A reimagined lasagna, Vesuvio di Rigatoni takes the concept of layered pasta to a whole new level using ramekins, rigatoni, and gooey mozzarella sauce to form the foundations of these edible “mountains” filled with meatballs, ricotta, chopped hard-boiled egg, and sautéed green peas. 


Take a look at the recipe in advance to procure your ingredients and prepare your mise en place: your precooking setup that includes homemade tomato sauce, Neapolitan meat ragù, mozzarella sauce, basil sauce, and beef and veal meatballs. Then, watch the video where chef Iaccarino demonstrates how to assemble the perfect Vesuvio di Rigatoni, using mozzarella as the base to arrange cooked rigatoni upright along each ramekin’s inner edge in the slopes of your pasta mountains. After adding the fillings between the pasta, he’ll show you how to seal it with more cheese before baking it in the oven.


Iaccarino will also share his philosophy of selecting impeccable ingredients—and the surprising origin of this iconic recipe that isn’t as ancient as you might think. Finally, you’ll see the inspiring presentation where the chef tops the baked Vesuvio di Rigatoni with a swirl of tomato sauce and ragù before finishing the plate with more creamy mozzarella and vibrant basil. Plus, Iaccarino will share his recommendations for the ideal wine pairings with this remarkable dish that works wonders with both reds and whites.


Download recipe:  Priceless Cookbook - Chef Ernesto Iaccarino Vesuvio di Rigatoni



Tomato Sauce

  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 ltr San Marzano tomato sauce 


Neapolitan Ragù

  • 300 g veal scraps
  • 300 g pork sausage  
  • 300 g pork ribs 
  • 2 medium onions, chopped 
  • 1 carrot, chopped 
  • 50 g red wine, ideally from Gragnano 
  • 2 ltr San Marzano tomato sauce 
  • Olive oil, as needed 
  • Fresh basil 


Mozzarella Sauce

  • 250 g fresh mozzarella 
  • 250 g whole milk 
  • Roux: 20 g butter and 20 g flour 
  • Salt, as needed 


Basil Sauce

  • 250 g fresh basil 
  • 5 g extra virgin olive oil 
  • 8 g salt 
  • 50 g rice, cooked until very soft  
  • 250 g sparkling water, to blend 



  • 125 g ground beef  
  • 125 g ground veal 
  • 40 g white bread broken up and soaked in 100 g milk  
  • 1 egg 
  • Chopped parsley, to taste  
  • Minced garlic, to taste 


Vesuvio di Rigatoni (Pre-Baking)

  • Cooked rigatoni pasta, 8 to 9 pieces per Vesuvio  
  • 100 g peas  
  • 10 g green onion  
  • 1 kg minced mozzarella mixed with 160 g of aged parmesan 
  • 150 g ricotta  
  • 3 hard-boiled egg yolks 
  • 20 meatballs, sautéed 


Vesuvio di Rigatoni (When Baked and Ready to Serve)

  • 400 g tomato sauce (see recipe below) 
  • 4 baked rigatoni mountains (see recipe below) 
  • 100 g mozzarella sauce (see recipe below) 
  • 100 g basil sauce  
  • 4 sprigs of basil leaves




The Ragù

  • Sauté the roughly chopped vegetables.
  • Sauté the pieces of meat, without burning them.
  • Deglaze with red wine: pour wine into pan and gently scrape the bottom to stir all browned meat residue into the sauce.
  • Add the tomato sauce, and let the mixture cook for about 3 to 4 hours.


The Tomato Sauce

  • Sauté 3 cloves of garlic in a pot.
  • Cook until golden, then remove garlic and set aside.
  • Pour in the tomato purée and let it cook over low heat for 40 minutes.


The Red Sauce (Half Ragù, Half Tomato Sauce)

  • Combine equal parts of the previously made tomato sauce and ragù.
  • Bind the two sauces together using cornstarch, if needed.


The Meatballs

  • Combine the ground beef and veal, white bread soaked in the milk, minced garlic, parsley, and egg.
  • Make small balls of less than 1 cm diameter (it helps to use wet hands).
  • Pass them in a little flour and cook them in olive oil over medium heat until lightly browned.


The Mozzarella Sauce

  • Combine equal parts butter and flour in a pot and cook over medium heat to make a roux. Stir frequently to avoid burning the mixture.
  • Whisk in the milk slowly and bring to a boil.
  • Stir in the minced mozzarella.
  • Blend everything well with an immersion blender.


The Basil Sauce

  • Blanch the basil in boiling water for 30 to 40 seconds.
  • Remove basil and quickly put it in ice water to stop the cooking process and preserve color.
  • Squeeze water out of basil and blend with the cooked rice and a little olive oil to maintain the color.
  • Blend to combine.
  • Season with salt to taste.
  • Refrigerate until ready to serve.


The Vesuvio di Rigatoni

  • Preheat your oven to 180° C.
  • Cook rigatoni in boiling water for 2 minutes, then drain and set aside to cool.
  • Mince mozzarella and mix it with Parmesan (this will be the base on which we will set rigatoni along the perimeter of the ramekin).
  • Sauté peas with a little olive oil, julienned spring onion, and salt.
  • Fill ramekin with cheese blend.
  • Stick cooked rigatoni into cheese until the inner edge is completely covered.
  • Fill the center up to the top of each Vesuvio with 4 to 5 meatballs, peas, hard-boiled egg yolks, and ricotta.
  • Complete each Vesuvio with a generous amount of minced mozzarella, filling all the empty spaces inside and between the rigatoni. 
  • Set each Vesuvio on a baking sheet and bake for 13 minutes at 180° C.
  • Remove from the oven and place each Vesuvio upside down on the baking sheet for another 3 to 4 minutes to drain excess liquids.
  • To Serve: Place each cooked Vesuvio in the middle of a plate, cover generously with the red sauce, and garnish with the mozzarella sauce, basil sauce, and basil leaves.