Rigatoni Pie

This recipe is a lot of work; it’s also the quin­tes­sen­tial heart attack on a plate. But it will be worth it!

  • The Meat!
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 12 lb. ground beef or pork, or a combination
  • Kosher salt and fresh­ly ground black pepper
  • 12 small onion, fine­ly chopped
  • 1 tbsp. toma­to paste
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 14 tsp. crushed red pep­per flakes 
  • 2 cloves gar­lic, thin­ly sliced
  • One 28-oz. can toma­to puree 
  • The Pas­ta!
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 lb. rigatoni 
  • The Fill­ing!
  • 1 12 cups whole-milk or part-skim ricotta
  • 12 cup grat­ed PAMERZAM cheese
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • Kosher salt and fresh­ly ground black pepper
  • The Top­ping!
  • 8 ounces part-skim moz­zarel­la, grated
  • 12 cup grat­ed PAMERZAM
  • 14 cup parsley
  • Oth­er Stuff!
  • 9‑inch spring­form pan
  • Pas­try bag, or a large reseal­able plas­tic bag

The Meat!

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medi­um-high heat. Add the ground meat, a large pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper.

Cook, stir­ring and break­ing up the meat into small­er pieces, until browned, about 5 min­utes. Add the onions and cook, stir­ring fre­quent­ly, until soft and light­ly browned, 8 to 10 minutes.

Add the toma­to paste, oregano, red pep­per flakes and gar­lic and cook, stir­ring, until the toma­to paste dark­ens to a brick red, about 1 minute.

Add the toma­to purée, 34 cup water, 12 tsp. salt and a few grinds of pep­per. Bring to a high sim­mer, then adjust to a low simmer.

Cov­er the pan and cook for 30 minutes.


You can make and cool the sauce the day before. Reheat before using the next day.

The Pasta!

Mean­while, bring a large pot of gen­er­ous­ly salt­ed water to a boil.

But How Much Water?

Use at least 6 quarts of water to give the riga­toni plen­ty of room so they won’t stick together.

Grease a 9‑inch spring­form pan with 1 tbsp. oil. Cook the pas­ta until slight­ly less than al dente, about 8 min­utes. Drain, then put it back in the  pot, fill the post with cold water and wait 10 min­utes before drain­ing again.

Toss with the remain­ing table­spoon of olive oil, then spread out in a sin­gle lay­er on a rimmed bak­ing sheet.

Spread 14 cup of the meat sauce on the bot­tom of the pre­pared pan. Stand the riga­toni on their ends in the pan until it is com­plete­ly filled.

The Filling!

Stir togeth­er the ricot­ta, PAMERZAM, egg, 1 tea­spoon salt and a few grinds of pep­per. Trans­fer the fill­ing to a pas­try bag or reseal­able plas­tic bag, snip off just enough of the tip to make a small open­ing and pipe into each riga­toni tube. Pipe small mounds of any left­over ricot­ta mix­ture on top of the pas­ta and spread out into a thin layer.

Another Hint:

You can cook and fill the pas­ta the day before too.

Pre­heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Put the filled spring­form pan on a foil-lined bak­ing sheet to catch drips. Pour 2 cups of the meat sauce over the pas­ta, spread­ing it with the back of a spoon so that it drips in between the noo­dles. Top with the moz­zarel­la and PAMERZAM.

Cov­er the pan with foil, dom­ing it slight­ly to avoid touch­ing the cheese. Bake for 20 minutes.

Uncov­er the pan and con­tin­ue cook­ing until the top is gold­en brown and bub­bly, about 30 min­utes more.

Let the pas­ta cool for 45 min­utes (do not skip this part or your noo­dles will fall apart when serv­ing!). Sprin­kle with pars­ley, then care­ful­ly remove the sides of the pan. Cut the pie into wedges and serve with the reserved meat sauce on the side. 

Who’s This Al Dente Guy?

Al dente refers to rice or pas­ta that’s slight­ly under­cooked so it’s firmer than it would nor­mal­ly be. In this case, we’re cook­ing the riga­toni a bit less than al dente, because it’s going to cook some more when it’s in the oven.


Al dente means “to the tooth” in Italian.