May 2017: Three Cheese Rigatoni Pie

May seemed like a good month to showcase a pasta dish for the Recipe of the Month simply because it is the last month before Colorado turns warm.

The Rigatoni Pie stood out for obvious reasons, it literally stands up!

This recipe turned out to be easy and not as time consuming as one might expect. However a few tweaks in the recipe were necessary and will be shared along the way. 

Ingredients:
  • 1 pound Rigatoni Make a little more than a pound. One pound almost wasn’t enough.
  • 1 jar of your favorite pasta sauce (approximately 2.5 cups, give or take. If it’s slightly more or less, just use it all) I used a local sauce from an Italian restaurant Pasta Jay’s. 
  • ½ cup of water
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 pound ground beef or ground pork I used ground beef.
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 container cottage cheese (or ricotta cheese) I used Ricotta. One big sized container. 
  • 1 large egg
  • 1-1/2 to 2 cups mozzarella cheese

Instructions:
1. Cook the Rigatoni in a large pot of salted, boiling water. Make sure you use enough water because the rigatoni sucks up a lot. Cook it about 1 minute less than the package directions so it is still hard enough to stand up. Drain the pasta and rinse under cold water.
2. Toss pasta with 1 Tablespoon of oil to prevent it from sticking. Then add the Parmesan cheese and toss until the cheese is evenly distributed. Set aside.
3. In a large frying pan, brown the ground beef in 1 Tablespoon of oil. Drain away the fat once it’s cooked.

4. Add the jar of pasta sauce and water and bring to a boil.

 

5. Reduce heat. Cover and simmer for at least 20 minutes. The longer you simmer the better. Just make sure you add more water if it all boils off.

6. Remove from heat and let it cool for 10 minutes.

7. Mix together the container of ricotta cheese and the egg. Set aside.

8. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

9. Grease a 9 inch spring-form pan.

10. Take the cooked rigatoni and stand each piece up on its end in the pan. Continue until the whole pan is tightly packed.

11. Pour the ricotta cheese mixture over the rigatoni and spread evenly over all the noodles.

12. Pour the meat mixture over top and spread evenly over the noodles. Use your finger to poke the meat and cheese mixture down into the noodles. The more patience you have with this step, the better it will be. I used the end of a wooden spoon to push the filling into the holes. This step is very critical. Take your time getting all the cheese and sauce into as many of the noodles as possible. 

13. Bake for 15 minutes at 400F. ADDED STEP! Cover with aluminum foil or else it dries out. 

14. Remove from the oven and top with the mozzarella cheese. You can remove the aluminum foil for this step so the mozzarella gets fully melted. 

15. Bake for another 15 minutes at 400F.

16. Let stand for 10 minutes then run a knife around the edge of the pan to help remove the spring-form pan.

It was pretty nerve-racking to take the spring-form pan off but it stayed together with no problem! 

I got the recipe from:

Hope you give this recipe a try and enjoy it!

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