Three-Cheese Rigatoni Pie

by amy on 1 November 2012

i adore pasta + i love food that’s cute and/or makes for an cool presentation, so today’s recipe is one that i’m so excited to share! i’m sure many of you have had baked ziti/rigatoni before, BUT have you ever had a version that’s shaped like a pie? basically, you place cooked rigatoni vertically into a springform pan (pictured below), then top it with a layer of ricotta, a layer of homemade meat sauce, grated mozzarella + parmesan, + bake until it reaches bubbly perfection. sounds good, right?

i stumbled across this recipe just a few weeks ago + couldn’t wait to give it a try. while it’s definitely tasty, this is really a dish that’s first + firemost about the presentation. the real awesomeness comes when you release the sides of the springform pan, reveal a fabulous rigatoni “pie,” + proceed to cut a perfect slice from it. and the flavor? i worried that with such a cool presentation, the flavor might be so-so, but this was actually quite delicious! although, in my book, you really can’t go wrong with any meal that involves lots of pasta, tons of cheese, + a wonderful, savory sauce.

so, next time you’re looking for a dinner that can feed a crowd AND also has a major wow factor, look no further + give this amazing rigatoni pie a try!

three-cheese rigatoni pie with meat sauce

serves 8, adapted from betterrecipes.com

ingredients

1 lb rigatoni (the wider, the better!)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 lb ground beef
1 28 oz. can good quality crushed tomatoes
2 tbsp dry red wine
1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
1 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
salt + pepper, to taste
1 1/2 cups freshly grated parmesan cheese, divided
4 oz ricotta cheese
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

directions

bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. add the rigatoni + cook until just al dente, according to the package instructions. drain + transfer to a large bowl. stir in 1 tbsp of olive oil + set aside to let cool, while you go on to the next steps.

meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat. add the beef + cook until it is no longer pink. drain the meat well + return to the skillet. stir in the crushed tomatoes, red wine, worcestershire sauce, parsley, basil, garlic powder, oregano + red pepper flakes. season with salt + pepper to taste. reduce the heat to low + simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. remove about 1/4 of the sauce + put aside in a small bowl – this will be your extra sauce for serving.

preheat the oven to 400 degrees. grease or butter a 9″ springform pan.

gently stir 1 cup of grated parmesan cheese into the cooked rigatoni until well-coated. stand each piece of rigatoni up vertically in the prepared springform pan. (note: this step took me about 8 minutes). this is what this step will look like when done!

once all the rigtoni is packed vertically into the pan, gently spread the ricotta cheese on top of the rigatoni in a thin, even layer.

carefully pour the meat sauce in the skillet (not the reserved sauce) over the rigatoni. this is the most time-consuming part: with clean hands, use your fingers to carefully push the meat sauce down into the rigatoni. as you push the meat sauce down, you will also push the ricotta cheese into the rigatoni, which will help keep this dish from being dry. the more time you spend on this step, the better results you will obtain! (note: this step took me about 10 minutes).

set the springform pan on a baking sheet + bake for 15 minutes. remove from the oven. sprinkle the mozzarella cheese + 1/2 cup parmesan cheese evenly over the top. cook for another 15 minutes, until the cheese is lightly browned + bubbling.

remove the pie from the oven + allow it to stand in the springform pan for 15 minutes. then, carefully run a knife along the edge of the pan to loosen the pie. remove the sides of the springform pan, then slice, serve with extra sauce on the side, + garnish with parsley, if desired.

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{ 69 comments… read them below or add one }

51 Brittany November 4, 2012 at 9:34 am

Pasta pie!?!?! This is GENIUS!! YUM!

52 All That I'm Eating November 4, 2012 at 2:46 pm

This looks amazing! I love this and it sounds great.

53 Elizabeth November 4, 2012 at 5:00 pm

I love how the noodles are lined up!

54 Tracey November 4, 2012 at 9:15 pm

What a fun presentation Amy, I love this! Pasta is the perfect comfort food for the cooler fall weather we’ve been having here.

55 Jen L | Tartine and Apron Strings November 4, 2012 at 10:48 pm

Oh my goodness, shut the front door! This is the coolest! Would love to try this with the kids! Genius…just genius!

56 sally @ sallys baking addiction November 5, 2012 at 4:38 am

Amy!!! This is the most fun dish I’ve ever seen! Look at how beautifully those noodles are lined up. I have NEVER had a pasta pie like this – ever before. I know it’s quite the popular dish, but I’ve never tried it. And you really don’t make it seem like it’s that difficult to assemble or put together. And yes, you really can’t go wrong with cheese, a ton of pasta, and sauce. At least not in my mind ;)

57 amy November 5, 2012 at 7:41 am

Thanks so much, Sally! And it really easy quite easy to make/assemble – it does take a little time, but i found lining up the noodles, etc., to all be quite relaxing. =)

58 Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking November 5, 2012 at 3:40 pm

Amy, this is too cool! Such a scrumptious and creative recipe. I’ve gotta try it, if only just to see if it would come out looking so stinkin’ PERFECT!

59 Chandra@The Plaid and Paisley Kitchen November 5, 2012 at 4:55 pm

I am in love!!! This has to be the most beautiful Italian dish I have ever seen! I am for sure going to make this one night!

60 barbara Giacometti November 5, 2012 at 7:49 pm

This looks fabulous. A new take on Timbale. I am going to try it with some green peas inside too for Christmas. Delicious!
Cheers!
Barbara
Sunday at the giacometti’s.

61 Nicole @ Lapetitebaker November 6, 2012 at 12:26 pm

You are a genius turning pasta into a pie! And it looks so good too.

62 natalie@thesweetslife November 6, 2012 at 3:37 pm

i can’t get over how gorgeous this is!

63 Aimee @ ShugarySweets November 6, 2012 at 7:50 pm

How pretty is this!!!

64 Kiran @ KiranTarun.com November 8, 2012 at 5:14 pm

It looks tooooo beautiful to eat!!!!!!

65 Jennie @themessybakerblog November 14, 2012 at 8:47 am

Wow! This is one gorgeous pie. The only paste pie I have ever had was spaghetti pie. I can’t wait to try this recipe.

66 David Crichton November 16, 2012 at 4:09 pm

Hi Amy, I generally skip pasta dishes as they look so boring. This is an absolute work of art though. Can’t believe how much effort you’ve put into it.

Dave.

67 amy November 16, 2012 at 4:40 pm

thank you so much, david!

68 Chandra@The Plaid and Paisley Kitchen December 28, 2012 at 7:14 pm

Amy- I made this for Christmas Eve Dinner and it was a HUGE success! Everyone loved it! Where yours was much prettier than mine. (I told them I only care what my food looks like when I am going to blog it) it was still so very Delish!

69 amy December 28, 2012 at 10:10 pm

Yay, I’m so happy to hear that, Chandra! I’m sure yours was just gorgeous + I’m thrilled that it was a huge success!

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