Do you get into a pasta slump in your household? I find there’s only so many times you can have spaghetti and spaghetti sauce without wanting to switch it up. Which is why I totally jumped on board when I saw this recipe for Italian rigatoni pie from Noble Pig. You use a spring-form pan, stand up all the rigatoni noodles in it and suddenly you have a new and exciting way to serve pasta!
There are other recipes out there where you make the sauce from scratch, but my busy kids don’t give me enough time for that! I like to use a jar of my favourite pasta sauce instead. If you prefer to make the sauce yourself, I’m sure it would be even more delicious!
- 1 pound Rigatoni
- 1 jar of your favourite pasta sauce (approximately 2.5 cups, give or take. If it's slightly more or less, just use it all)
- ½ cup of water
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 pound ground beef or ground pork
- 1 cup Parmesan cheese
- 1 container cottage cheese (or ricotta cheese)
- 1 large egg
- 1-1/2 to 2 cups mozzarella cheese
- 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.
- 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.
- In a large frying pan, brown the ground beef in 1 Tablespoon of oil. Drain away the fat once it's cooked.
- Add the jar of pasta sauce and water and bring to a boil.
- 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.
- Remove from heat and let it cool for 10 minutes.
- Mix together the container of cottage cheese and the egg. Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Grease a 9 inch sprinform pan.
- Take the cooked rigatoni and stand each piece up on its end in the pan. Continue until the whole pan is tightly packed.
- Pour the cottage cheese mixture over the rigatoni and spread evenly over all the noodles.
- 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.
- Bake for 15 minutes at 400F.
- Remove from the oven and top with the mozzarella cheese.
- Bake for another 15 minutes at 400F.
- Let stand for 10 minutes then run a knife around the edge of the pan to help remove the springform pan.
Boil the rigatoni in plenty of water. It absorbs a lot of water and you don’t want it sticking together. Cook it about 1 minute less than the package directions suggest. You need it to be hard enough that it will stand up on its own in the springform pan. Rinse with cool water and then toss it with some oil to prevent it from sticking together.
I love fresh Parmesan cheese! I definitely recommend grating it fresh if you can.
Add the Parmesan cheese to the rigatoni and toss until it’s well mixed. Be careful not to break the noodles while you are stirring.
Brown the ground beef or ground pork. I used beef, but I’ve noticed that pork is half the price of beef right now, so I’ll definitely make it with pork next time.
Add the jar of pasta sauce and some water to the ground beef. I used a 645mL (roughly 2.5 cups or 20 oz) jar of Prego Mushroom and Green Pepper Sauce. I find it has a great flavour when you mix it with the ground beef.
Mix well, cover, and simmer for at least 20 minutes since the sauce will taste better the longer you let it cook. You could even let it cook an hour or two if you want. You’ll just have to make sure you add plenty of water so the sauce doesn’t boil away on you.
Now here is where your patience comes in. You’ll have to take each one of the rigatoni noodles and stand it up on its end in the sprinform pan:
Make sure they are compressed enough that you have a good quantity of noodles, but still enough space for the sauce to drop through.
Mix together the cottage cheese (or ricotta cheese) and egg together for the cheese filling:
Pour this cheese mixture on top of the noodles and spread evenly over top.
Make sure you have let your meat mixture cool for at least 10 minutes, then pour it on top and spread it evenly over the noodles. Use your finger to poke the meat and cheese down into the noodles. The more noodles you can get the sauce into the better. It takes a bit of time, but it’s not too bad. Just make sure you’ve let the sauce cool or you’ll burn your fingers… like I did…
I’d recommend putting the springform pan on top of a cookie sheet before you pour the sauce on. Some of the sauce will leak through the spring form pan, depending on how watery your sauce is, and it’s easier to keep everything clean if there is something to catch it.
Bake for 15 minutes at 400F, then remove from the oven and top with the mozzarella cheese.
Bake it for another 15 minutes at 400F until the cheese is bubbly. Let it stand for about 10 minutes before removing it from the springform pan.
Use a knife to cut around the edge of the pan and then open and remove the sides of the springform pan.
Swap out the noodles and this is pretty much the exact recipe I use for lasagna and for regular spaghetti and meat sauce.
It’s amazing how much of a difference it makes to use the same ingredients in a different way. Switch to rigatoni and suddenly it’s something different that most people haven’t had before!
I would definitely serve this to friends or family who came over for dinner.
You can see that the more sauce you get down into the noodles the better! Yum!
Serve this at your next dinner party, or make it at home just to spice things up a little bit. It was a huge hit in our family and a fun way to rethink how we make pasta for dinner!