Fair warning: this could not be classified as a quick and easy dinner. Not that it was difficult, but oh so time-consuming. If you've got some teens who like to cook, you've got it made. Or if you have more patience than I, go for it. Cathy at Noble Pig thought stuffing the rigatoni with the sauce was a "weirdly satisfying task". Hah! Not so. Tedious and boring was my take.
What balances tedious out is the clever pasta pie idea and it's a fun presentation; I've been wanting to make this since I first saw it, so I'm relieved I got it out of my system. If I had made the whole recipe, I'd still be in the kitchen. I used my 6 1/2 inch springform pan, so I cut this recipe in half. Cathy calls for a 9 inch pan, which is the recipe below. The smaller pan would serve about 5-6 people, depending on the size of the wedges you cut, so the bigger one maybe 10. Let me know if you've ever made it....I'd love to know if you found fatter rigatoni; I could barely stuff my little finger in those holes! But if you have some smaller hands available for this chore, set them to work.! That's the answer. Little fingers.
1 pound rigatoni
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 pound ground beef (I used ground sirloin)
2 garlic gloves, crushed
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 can (28 ounces) good quality crushed tomatoes
Butter, for pan
1 cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated
8 ounces coarsely grated mozzarella cheese
In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook pasta until slightly underdone. One pound of pasta should be cooked in 6 quarts of water, make sure you are using a big enough pot so the pasta doesn't stick together. When done, rinse in cold water and drain again. Toss pasta with 1 tablespoon olive oil to coat. Set aside.
Heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add ground beef. Cook, stirring occasionally until browned. Add garlic, 1 teaspoon salt and pepper. Cook 2 minutes more.
Add crushed tomatoes; simmer until thickened, about 20 minutes.
Toss pasta with Parmesan cheese. Butter a 9-inch springform pan. Tightly pack pasta into pan, standing each piece on end. Spread meat sauce on top of pasta.
Push the meat sauce into the pasta holes filling each one up. (good luck with that)
Place in a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top and bake another 10-15 minutes until cheese is golden. Remove from oven and let stand for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the edge to loosen and then unmold.
Cut into wedges and serve with any remaining meat sauce you might have.