Friday, May 15, 2009

Pasta Pie

I didn't realize I had an obsession with baked pasta dishes until I just typed the name of this post. I do believe this is my third variation of pasta pie that I've posted. But each one is different enough to excite me and make me have to try it. I guess I like Italian!

This pasta pie really intrigued me because it's so different. And I LOVE its presentation. It has all of the usual characters - the pasta, the sauce, the cheese, and the ground beef. But it's baked in a springform pan so the sides can be removed and voilĂ  - you have a gorgeous dish!

It's incredibly easy to make. But be warned, it requires getting your hands a little dirty. Your pasta has to be stood up in your pan - one piece at a time. A little time and patience is required, but it pays off in the end.

And then comes the part where you'll really get your hands dirty. Take your sauce and pour it over your pasta. Stick your (CLEAN!) fingers in and push the sauce and ground beef down into the holes of the noodles. Be sure to get the sauce into every single noodle or else you'll be able to tell after it cooks. Instead of a nice top to your pasta, you'll see empty holes. I had one or two that I accidentally missed. But I still thought it looked great.

The pie slices really well and is incredibly easy to serve. This is a very tasty dish that's easy enough for anyone to try making. So go ahead and try it, I guarantee you'll impress your guests and it's a great conversation piece!

Pasta Pie
From Noble Pig, who adapted the recipe from Martha Stewart

1 pound rigatoni
2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
1 pound ground beef
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 can (28 ounces) good quality crushed tomatoes
Butter, for pan
1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
8 ounces coarsely grated mozzarella

1. In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook pasta until slightly underdone (I cooked mine for 12 minutes when the box indicated 14 minutes). One pound of pasta should be cooked in 6 quarts of water, make sure you are using a big enough pot so the pasta doesn't stick together. When done, rinse in cold water and drain again. Toss pasta with 1 Tablespoon olive oil to coat. Set aside.

2. Heat remaining 1 Tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add ground beef. Cook, stirring occasionally until browned. Add garlic, 1 teaspoon salt and pepper. Cook 2 minutes more.

3. Add crushed tomatoes; simmer until thickened, about 20 minutes.

4. Toss pasta with Parmesan cheese. Butter a 9-inch springform pan. Tightly pack pasta into pan, standing each piece on end. Spread meat sauce on top of pasta.

5. Push the meat sauce into the pasta holes filling each one up. Stuffing the meat into the holes is a weirdly satisfying task. Enough said.

6. Place in a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top and bake another 10-15 minutes until cheese is golden. Remove from oven and let stand for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the edge to loosen and then unmold.

7. Cut into wedges and serve with any remaining meat sauce you might have.


Reeni said...

I've never seen anything like this! I love it! It looks delicious!

Heather said...

hooooooooooly yum!!!! this looks so, so good :)

Anonymous said...

How cool to be able to slice it like that. Baked pasta tastes good, but usually it's more of a "glob" on your plate.

Jen said...

Made it tonight with our friends Patty and Todd who also love your blog. Everyone loved it including Jim! Great recipe.

vibi said...

Love the idea! ...and its going directly in my "to do" file! Mmmm... I'm like just you, I turn into Homer with a doughnut, in from of PASTAAAAAAA!

Donna-FFW said...

I saw this on Cathys site and loved it there. It looks fantastic. Thanks for reminding me to try this one soon!

Cathy said...

This looks so great, and it is the kind of dish that my entire family will enjoy (that's a rarity!) I need to get this one on the menu soon!

Elyse said...

I remember drooling over this at Noble Pig, and it looks just as fabulous over here. Man oh man, you're totally putting me in the mood for some baked pasta. Looks so delicious! Sorry that I've been a bad commenter for the past couple of weeks; I just finished law school exams and am just now getting to my google reader!

Leslie said...

What a cool looking recipe and it seems like it would be very versatile! We love the crunchy noodles at the side of a casserole, so maybe missing a couple of them would be desirable. ;-)

TeaLady said...

Very inventive. Looks delicious. I HAVE to try this one.

Jessica said...

OK, that looks so good! I can't wait to try it. This post actually made my stomach rumble.