Happy 2013! I hope everyone had a nice holiday. We certainly did, with our boys all home and lots of cooking and friends over and a few too many bottles of Prosecco opened. I know a lot of food sites will be giving their readers recipes for juice cleanses and salads and lighter dishes for the new year, but not me! I'm giving you Pasta Pie.
This is a real comfort dish - this pie has a meat crust and is filled with pasta, cheese and tomato sauce. The meat mixture is basically just the same recipe that you would use if you were making meatballs, but you press it into a deep pie pan. The whole thing bakes up in the oven and comes out nice and crispy on top. You cut it into wedges and serve it with a dollop of extra marinara sauce. It's great on a cold winter's night.
adapted slightly from Adriana's Pasta Pie
for a printable recipe click here
Using freshly ground beef makes for a lighter meat crust. If you want a spicy pasta pie, use marinara sauce with a little red hot chili pepper.
- 1 cup fresh bread crumbs
- ¼ cup finely chopped parsley
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1¼ cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, divided
- ½ teaspooon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 3 eggs, slightly beaten
- 1½ pound (24 ounces) ground beef (preferably freshly ground)
- 14 ounces ditalini pasta, about 5 cups cooked
- 1 pound (16 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese
- 3 cups marinara sauce, divided
it's worth it to make your own fresh bread crumbs - just
put fresh bread in your food processor and pulse or
just grate the bread over a box cheese grater
Spray a deep dish pie pan with cooking spray. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large bowl, mix the bread crumbs, parsley, onion, ½ cup Parmigiano cheese, salt and pepper together until well blended. Add the eggs and ground beef and toss gently until ingredients are blended. Do not over mix. Form a crust about an inch thick with the meat mixture in the pie plate. Set aside.
Meanwhile, cook the ditalini pasta until just al dente. Do not overcook - the pasta needs to be slightly underdone because it will cook further in the oven. Drain the pasta.
In another large bowl, mix the cooked pasta with ¾ cup of the grated Parmigiano cheese, the mozzarella cheese and 2 cups of the marinara sauce. Mix well and then pour into the meat crust, forming a high dome with the pasta. Cover with nonstick foil.
Bake at 350 for 1½ hours, removing the foil the last 15 minutes to get the top a little crusty. Remove from oven and let cool 15 minutes before serving.
Slice into wedges and serve with the additional marinara sauce.