June 12, 2012

Italian Rigatoni Pie

I am so excited to announce that this recipe won the "Italian" recipe contest on BetterRecipes.com!  They prepared it and wrote about it -- check it out HERE!


I am so excited about this recipe today!  I got the idea from Martha Stewart and while I stuck to the basic instructions, I made a lot of changes to the ingredients.  The results?  It was absolutely fantastic!  My family loved it and I will definitely be making it again.  It may be somewhat time consuming but you will find yourself giggling with excitement once you take down the sides of that springform pan and behold your creation.  It is very pleasing to the eye and the taste is out of this world.  When you slice into it, it holds up like a dream.  The cheese on top forms a pleasant crust.  My first concern with the original recipe was that it would be dry but this is definitely not the case, especially due to the addition of the ricotta.  

Please see below for the step-by-step photos that go along with the directions.

A few tips:  Use the rigatoni that is approximately 1 inch long.  Make sure you freshly grate your Parmesan cheese because the pasta will not stick together if you use the grated cheese from a green can.  Also, as mentioned below, allow your obsessive compulsiveness to shine while pushing the meat sauce down through the rigatoni.  The more time you spend on this, the better results you will obtain.  



Ingredients:
Serves 6 
  • 1 lb rigatoni
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, divided 
  • 1/3 lb ground beef
  • 1/3 lb ground pork 
  • 1/3 lb ground veal 
  • 1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp dry red wine
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce 
  • 1 tsp dried parsley 
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil 
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder (use 1/2 tsp if you love garlic)
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano 
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes 
  • 1 c shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 c shredded cheddar cheese 
  • 1 c finely grated Parmesan cheese, freshly grated (not the stuff from the green can)
  • 4 oz ricotta cheese 
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste 


Directions:

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add the rigatoni and cook until al dente (13 minutes for my pasta).  Drain the pasta, rinse in cold water and drain again.  Stir in 1 tbsp of the olive oil and set aside. This keeps the pasta from sticking.  

Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the remaining 1 tbsp olive oil to the pan.  Add the beef, pork and veal to the skillet and season with salt and pepper.  Stir and cook the meat until it is no longer pink.  Drain the meat and return it to the pan (draining is optional).  Stir in the crushed tomatoes, red wine, Worcestershire sauce, parsley, basil, garlic powder, oregano and red pepper flakes.  Season with salt and pepper, to taste.  Reduce the heat to low.  Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.  

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  

Gently stir the finely grated Parmesan cheese into the cooked rigatoni.  Stand the rigatoni up vertically in a greased 9-inch springform pan.  You should use the entire pound of the cooked pasta for this.  



Gently spread the ricotta cheese on top of the rigatoni in a thin, even layer.  

Carefully pour the meat sauce over all.  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 -- allow your obsessive compulsiveness to shine!  I spent about 8 minutes on this step.  


Set the springform pan on a baking sheet and place it in the oven.  Cook for 15 minutes.  Remove the pie from the oven.  Sprinkle the mozzarella and cheddar cheese evenly over all.  Return the pie to the oven and cook for 15 minutes longer.

Remove the pie from the oven and allow it to stand in the sprinform pan for at least 15 minutes.  Carefully run a knife along the edge of the pan to loosen the pie from the pan.  Remove the sides of the sprinform pan.  

Slice the pie and garnish with parsley, if desired.  

Enjoy!




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