Rigatoni Pie

rigatoni pasta upright in pan with sauce and cheese
Rigatoni Pie is easier than it looks

1 Lb. rigatoni (preferably, the shorter, wider ones)
2 T. Olive oil, divided1 Lb. ground beef
2 large garlic cloves
½ teaspoon oregano
1 can (28 oz.) crushed tomatoes
Salt and pepper
1 c. Parmesan cheese, finely grated
8 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese

Boil the rigatoni in a large pot of boiling, salted water until slightly underdone. When done, drain, rinse with cold water and toss with 1 T. olive oil. Set aside.

Heat remaining 1 T. olive oil in a skillet and cook ground beef. Add chopped garlic, salt and pepper. Be sure to break up meat into small pieces. This will be helpful later when filling the pie. Takes about 5 minutes.

Add oregano and crushed tomatoes; simmer until thickened, about 20 minutes.

Toss rigatonis with Parmesan cheese.
Grease a 9 or 10-inch spring-form pan. Begin placing rigatonis on end in the pan. You may need to tilt it slightly until the rigatonis fill the pan, all standing upright like little soldiers. Snugly put as many as you can, but stop before the start to flatten or collapse. You want them round and ready for filling.

Spread meat sauce over the pasta, letting it sink down in. If necessary, you can use a chopstick to gently tuck meat pieces down into the little tubes. Use all the meat sauce.

Place pan on a foil lined cookie sheet (because with a springform pan, there could be some leakage around the bottom) and bake in a 400 degree oven for 15-20 minutes, then top with mozzarella and finish baking another 15 minutes. At the very end, you can place the pan under the broiler for 2-3 minutes to bubble the cheese and turn it golden.

Remove from oven and let sit another 15 minutes. Loosen edges with a knife and unmold to serve.


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