So for months I had been seeing this pasta entrée going around Facebook and frequently would just pass it by. Meh. I thought to myself. But it kept showing up in my news feed – over and over and over again. Hmmmm. This is obviously popular. OK I’ll bite (no pun intended). I’m referring to the Rigatoni Pie that you may have seen going around the internet. It is made in a springform pan and the rigatoni stands vertically in the pan and is covered with sauce and cheese. In pictures it looks delicious and being Italian, I had to give it a try.
So, I grabbed my springform pan and boiled up some rigatoni. I mixed in a little tomato sauce and then began assembling the pie standing the rigatoni vertically in the pan. I found it difficult, truthfully. The pasta just kept falling over. Usually when I make rigatoni, I mix in a little ricotta cheese with it (and boy do my kids go crazy over it!). So I decided that would be my “glue.” I mixed in some ricotta cheese and it helped the pasta stick to each other and allowed me to be able to fill up the pan. I squeezed in as much pasta as I could. Then I covered the top with sauce and a big layer of shredded mozzarella cheese. Then into the oven it went to bake and get nice and bubbly and brown.
A lot of people prefer meat in their pasta dishes. My older cousin is a strict vegetarian, so growing up our Italian family always made meat dishes on the side. Meatballs, chicken cutlet parmigiana, sausage and peppers, etc. Everything was served separate from any pasta dish. Our baked ziti and lasagna dishes never had meat in them and because of that I still can’t bring myself to like lasagna served at restaurants since they fill them up with meat! It’s what you get used to. So, I never make my pasta dishes with meat. You can use ground beef in this recipe if you’d like, but I chose to make it without. I also really didn’t follow a particular recipe. I just took the main ingredients and combined them how I wanted. It’s a flexible recipe that you can really make your own. Don’t like tomato sauce, try pesto. Don’t want ricotta cheese, use a meat sauce. The possibilities are endless!
It’s a little bit of effort to assemble, but it’s worth the reactions you’ll get from your family or guests when you release that springform pan. My kids were in awe and I should have taken an “after” picture – because there was none left! I hope you and your family enjoy it as much as mine has!
Rigatoni Pasta Pie
1 9″ springform pan, lightly oiled
1 lb. rigatoni pasta, cooked al dente
1 8 oz. container ricotta cheese
2 Tbsp. parmesan cheese
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
4-6 cups tomato sauce (reserve some for final plates)
- Combine the cooked pasta with about a 1/2 cup of tomato sauce and the ricotta cheese. Mix well.
- Place a thin layer of tomato sauce on the bottom of the springform pan. Begin tightly packing the rigatoni in the springform pan, standing the pasta on its ends (vertically) working your way from the outside towards the center. Pack it as tight as possible, without destroying any of the pasta. You may or may not use all of the pasta.
- Once the pan is filled with the pasta, pour over some tomato sauce and then sprinkle on the parmesan and mozzarella cheese. (I wrapped my springform pan in aluminum foil and placed it on a cookie sheet so any juices that dripped wouldn’t leak. However, do not cover the top with aluminum foil.)
- Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 20-30 minutes until cheese is melted, brown, and bubbly. Remove from oven and let stand about 10-15 minutes before removing springform.