Sunday, June 7, 2015

Experimenting


Y'all know I love Pinterest, and I get a lot of ideas there.  I've seen this Rigatoni Pie a lot, and I was very skeptical on whether it would truly work or not.  As you can see in the picture, it did!  I used my own recipe here and just used the idea and techniques found on Pinterest.  However, there are a few hiccups to getting this thing to work.

The first part is really easy.  Make a ricotta filling, cook the Italian sausage, shred some cheese.  The next step is to boil the rigatoni and drain it.  Then you toss it with some Parmesan cheese and olive oil and line them up in a springform pan.  Here's what that looks like:


Pretty cool, huh!  But hiccup number one is the cheese.  I guess I didn't pay attention to the instructions.  I used shredded Parmesan cheese, the kind from a bag.  But the cheese melted and kind of clumped up in places and a lot stayed in the pan.  It's okay though.  It made a good snack. The canned grated Parmesan cheese would have worked a lot better here.  Secondly, I didn't think about cooling the pasta before lining them up, so it was a little too hot to handle.  It's also very time consuming, but my husband helped.  Four hands are better than two here.  

The next step is getting the ricotta into each piece of pasta. What better way than with a pastry bag...unless of course you cut the hole too big.  Also, I didn't have enough ricotta filling to fill all of them, but I've adjusted that for you in my recipe below.  Still not a disaster.

Next you sauce the top and bake it, add cheese, and bake a little more.  Then you let it cool 15 minutes before running a knife around the outside and opening up the outer ring. Which brings me to our last hiccup.  We decided to put a little sauce and cheese on the bottom of the pan before lining up the pasta.  When we opened up the ring, some of the outer pieces fell off.  So we put the ring back on and let it cool a little longer.  We managed to get the pie to stay together for the picture, but moving it back to the kitchen counter caused a few more to fall off.  I'm not sure if it's because of the sauce on the bottom or because I didn't slightly undercook the pasta when boiling.  

But, all in all, it tasted fabulous and we all really enjoyed it. And it was kind of fun!  Enjoy!

RIGATONI PIE
1 lb rigatoni pasta
Olive oil
1/4 C grated Parmesan

FOR THE SAUCE:
3-4 C Marinara Sauce (click for my recipe)
Olive oil
1 lb Italian sausage (casings removed it you can only get it in links)
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
Red chili flakes, to taste
Salt & pepper, to taste

FOR THE RICOTTA FILLING:
3 C ricotta
1 egg
1/4 C shredded Parmesan filling
2 teaspoons dried parsley
8 ounces Mozzarella, shredded

Drizzle some olive oil into a skillet and cook the onion until tender.  Add in the Italian sausage, garlic, chili flakes, and salt & pepper to taste.  Cook and break up the sausage until it's well browned.  Stir in 2 C of the marinara sauce.  Reserve the remaining sauce.  Mix the ricotta filling together and set aside.

Boil the rigatoni until it's soft but not all the way done.  Drain and let it cool slightly.  Stir a bit of olive oil and the grated Parmesan into the pasta.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Spray the bottom and sides of a springform pan with nonstick spray.  This next step is optional.  As I said above, I'm not sure if the sauce in the bottom is what made some of the pasta fall off.  But you can spread 1 C marinara sauce in the bottom of the pan and sprinkle on a little Mozzarella.  

Next line all of the noodles upright in the springform pan (see picture above).  We had a few noodles leftover.  Take a pastry bag or a large zipper bag and put the ricotta filling into the bag.  Snip off one end and squeeze the ricotta filling carefully down into the pasta.  Next spread the meat sauce over the top of the pasta.  Bake the pie for 15 minutes. Sprinkle on the remaining Mozzarella and bake another 15 minutes.  Let the pie cool for at least 15 minutes.  Run a knife around the inside edge of the pan and then release the ring. Carefully remove the ring off of the pie.  Serve it with the remaining marinara sauce, if desired.

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