I love baked pasta, it is something my mother use to make and it is also something every Italian Nona (grandmother) knows. Though we are not Italian, it is a dish which was common in our home as children.
I found this recipe and tried it, the results were scrumptious. Basically the recipe calls for making a cake of baked Rigatoni in a 9 inch dish (23 cm).
Will made his famous Bolognese sauce from scratch using Veal and Beef in the crockpot it takes about 8 hours. We skipped the part in the recipe about making the meat sauce.
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 and veal
1 cup Parmesan cheese
1 container ricotta cheese 250gr.
1 large egg
2 cups mozzarella cheese ( I use the type in water which is soft and easy to grate)
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.
This part about the meat sauce we skipped since we made our own. I also do not like pasta sauce in a jar.
In a large frying pan, brown the ground beef – veal 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 ricotta 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 ricotta 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.
There are lots of recipes on this topic and you can find one you like on the internet. I also added a layer of sauce at the bottom of the springform pan before starting to align the pasta (see photo above).
It’s really good, enjoy!