Rigatoni Pie

Here is a little bit of an odd-ball recipe for you: Rigatoni Pie. OK, in this case, it is actually Paccheri Pie, because that is the kind of pasta that I used, but most people would use rigatoni. Any tubular pasta will do though. I had found the paccheri a while back at Eataly, so figured that I could use them with this.

So what is a pasta pie? Essentially, a lasagna with the noddles standing upright. All the ingredients are the same. I just think this turns out to be a bit of a fun presentation. And perfect comfort food as well.

4 cups homemade Bolognese (my recipe for this sauce is here)
1 pound rigatoni or other tubular pasta (I used paccheri)
15 ounces whole milk ricotta
1 egg
3 tablespoons basil pesto (store bought is fine)
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 cup fontina cheese, shredded
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

You will also need: a 9 inch spring form pan, a large (1 gallon) ziptop bag

Make your Bolognese sauce. Because my recipe takes about 3 hours (2 of which are letting it simmer in the oven), I typically make this a day or even two ahead of time. You can use the finished sauce either hot or at room temperature.

Bring 5-6 quarts of water to a rolling boil in a large pot. Cook noodles until a minute before al dente. Drain and spread out on a baking sheet lined with paper towels. Preheat oven to 375F.

In a work bowl, combine the ricotta, egg, a few grates of fresh Parmesan and pesto with salt and pepper. In a separate bowl, mix together the grated mozzarella and the grated fontina.

Assemble your pie by scooping 1 cup of the Bolognese on the bottom on your spring form pan to coat the bottom. Next, stand your pasta upright in your pan, putting in as many of possible. They should stand upright and should be quite packed in. Put the ricotta mixture in the ziptop bag and cut a small hole in one corner. Pipe the filing into each one of the pasta tube about 1/2 way full. Follow this by spooning some pasta sauce into or on top of the pasta (it will fill in the remaining space even if you spoon it on top and gently use a spatula to swirl it around. Add a little more sauce to cover. Then spread on the grated cheese mixture.

Place the pie onto a rimmed baking sheet (to catch any drips). Spray a piece of aluminum foil with baking spray and cover the pie, sprayed side down. Bake for 35 minutes. Uncover; bake 20 minutes longer or until the top is bubbly and golden brown. Let stand for a minimum of 15 minutes before running a knife around the outside edge and carefully removing the springform. It is screaming hot and if you cut it too soon, it will merely fall apart on you; you need the cheese to set a bit. Move to a serving platter (you may or may not be able to get the bottom piece of the spring form off). Slice into wedges and serve.






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