Monday, January 14, 2013

Pasta Pie

Pasta Pie cooked post

All the Christmas decorations are back up in the attic. We took everything up last weekend. The house almost seems empty now. Empty in a good way. It's the time of year that makes me want to clean, clean, clean and organize everything. Must be a new year's thing.

I'm also on the lookout for some new/old furniture. I say new/old cause I'm hoping to find something unique piece at an estate or consignment store that I can re-purpose and re-finish if necessary.

I need a desk and I'm also looking for the new piece to hold hold everything that I have in my old hutch in. I was never into hutches. Mine is from my grandmother so it holds some sentimental value, but it just not working for me. Lots of wasted space.

I've got so many new recipes that I want to try I can barely choose which one I want to make next. I did get a jump start on my list when I saw this Pasta Pie.

I don't sit in front of the computer screen and say Oh. My. God. very often. It takes a special recipe to make me do that, but when I saw this pasta pie that's just what I said.

I found this recipe on a blog I really love...The Italian Dish. There are some really great Italian recipes to be found. This one just blew me away.

A meatball crust piled high with pasta, Parmesan and mozzarella. Gettaoutthere.

I decreased the breadcrumbs a bit. The original recipe called for fresh breadcrumbs. Not wanting to drag out the food processor, I opted for Italian seasoned ones. I also omitted the onion the original called for and used garlic instead.

Put this in a foil lined sheet before baking! I didn't and it dripped all over my oven!

Here is what the crust looks like before it's baked.

Pasta Pie post uncooked

And then with the filling.

Pasta Pie filled post

Note for next time. I wouldn't put quite as much pasta in the pan. It was really just a bit too much. The pasta to crust ratio was off for me. I'd also decrease the amount of cheese in the meat to about 3/4 of cup. If you have a favorite meatball recipe, use that. That's what I'll be doing next time.

Yeah the picture is a little blurry. I had hungry men yelling at me to hurry up and take a picture so they could eat!

My cousin Eric told me that this dish looked like brains. It kinda does. Tasty, tasty brains.

pasta pie cut

Pasta Pie
adapted from a recipe at The Italian Dish
3/4 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
¼ cup finely chopped parsley
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1¼ cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, divided
½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1½ pound (24 ounces) ground beef
14 ounces ditalini (or other small pasta), about 5 cups cooked
1 pound (16 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese
3 cups marania sauce divided

Spray a deep dish pie pan with cooking spray. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl, mix the bread crumbs, parsley, garlic, 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. Place on a foil lined sheet to prevent drips!

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.
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