Friday, June 26, 2009

Pasta Pie

I bookmarked this recipe from Noble Pig months ago and was waiting for an opportunity to cook it. It really looks special, but it is just pasta and meat sauce afterall. Not something I'd go out of my way to cook for just Johnny and myself, but company is a different story.

Some friends have two daugthers, a 2 year old and a 3 month old and we made plans to have dinner with them. Our house is probably the least kid-friendly house on the face of the planet and who wants to pack up two kids?! So -- we brought dinner to them. This was a great dish to travel, I'd recommend it for company and potluck contributions.

Pasta Pie

1 lb. rigatona pasta
1 lb. ground beef (I used 95/5)
28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 cup shredded Parmesan
1 cup shredded mozzerella
2 garlic cloves
salt, pepper, spices to taste

Boil the pasta, removing from the heat and draining before they're done. I cooked mine for 11 minutes, when the package said 14. Drain, and rinse with cold water to cool. Sprinkle with a little bit of olive oil and the Parmesan, tossing to coat. Be careful not to break the noodles, you'll need them as intact as possible.

Meanwhile, in a high-sided skillet, brown the ground beef. I added salt, pepper, garlic and onion powders. Mince the garlic and add that to the pan once the meat is browned. Then add the can of crushed tomatoes. I spiced mine up just as I would making home-made sauce with salt, oregano, and basil. I let this sit and cook on low for 15-20 minutes while I was working on the noodles.

Once they're cooled, stand all the noodles on end in a greased springform pan.

This went a lot smoother than I thought it would. The noodles stayed pretty well on their own, but a few were taller than the others and I had a lot with slits on the side. The funny thing is that the pound of pasta fits in here almost perfectly. I had maybe 10 fragments leftover of noodle pieces too broken to use, that's it.

Next step is the sauce, which to me was the hardest part. The sauce was still pretty warm and you have to make sure to squish the meat down into each individual rigatoni opening. I eventually got into a groove and worked my way across the pan, then spread the extra sauce over top. Be careful here, because my springform pan actually started leaking sauce. I had a big ring of tomato juice to clean up off the counter, but knew then to place the pan on a baking sheet in the oven.
After the meat sauce is squished in all of the pasta openings, bake in a 400° oven for 15 minutes. Then, sprinkle the mozzarella over the top and bake an additional 15 minutes. Let stand about 15 minutes before removing the spring pan and cutting into it.

It stayed perfectly shaped, I just ran a knife around the outside and released the spring pan.

Each little tube was filled with some meat and sauce, so you were sure to get some in each bite. The Parmesan cheese was like a glue, helping keep the noodles standing next to each other. Overall really tasty and a cool dish, but honestly it's a pretty tedious preparation process.

We also brought along a big loaf of garlic bread I made. I didn't get a picture of it post-bake, but I spread about 2 Tbsp of 50/50 Smart Balance on each half loaf of bread with a spatula, then sprinkled garlic powder. I popped these in the oven the last 10 minutes of the pasta pie's baking time.

And, last but not least, a big salad of mixed greens, carrots, green pepper, celery, cucumber, and sunflower seeds.


Laura said...

ok a lot of work but such presentation...will you bring me food?

Nowheymama said...

So pretty! And what a thoughtful friend you are.

Jenn@slim-shoppin said...

Wow, that's the coolest thing I have ever seen!

I never would have thought of using a spring form pan and standing the pasta upright! Great job!

Anonymous said...

Oh my GOSH! That is the most amazing, ingenuis thing I've ever seen! That is SO cool! I HAVE to try this sometime! Cool beans!

Anonymous said...

I thought the same thing when I saw it on Cathy's site - its definitely a show stopper entree! You did a great job too - now I need to buy a spring form pan - I don't have one! :D

Anonymous said...

Christina, I just saw that quilt you sewed for you god-daughter. Oh my GOD!! You are SO freaking talented! Oh my God oh mygog omigod!! Can I be your god-daughter too? Or am I too old? T___T;;;

Sweetie Pie said...

Oh my gosh! That looks very cool and totally drool worthy too!

What lucky friends you have! :-)

Tasty Health Food said...

I've actually made a pasta pie almost exactly like this for a dinner party. It was yummy and simple! Yours is prettier than mine. :)

A@ Please Don't Eat Me! said...

oh my goodness!!! this looks SO cool! what a great idea. i bet they loved every bite!

re: about the ice cream, im going to have to look for creamy sorbets ; ) im dealthy allergic to coconut so those lovely coconut ice creams i always see are way off limits! lol i have a love/ hate relationship with soy too.. im a mess with out my dairy ice cream haha!
i just hope my symptoms do not end up getting worse over time..not good!!

Faith said...

I just found your wonderful blog! This pasta pie sounds delicious and looks beautiful, almost tart-like.

test it comm said...

What a nice idea for a pasta pie!

Anonymous said...

I saw this recipe last week somewhere else. I have to try it!!!