Prep time: 10 minutes or until the rigatoni is slightly undercooked
Sauce cooking time: 25 minutes
Baking time: 20-25 minutes
Standing time: 15 minutes
Special equipment: spring form pan: 9"/22cm (plus 7"/17cm smaller for left over pasta or just save extra to use some other way.
Note: the pasta was way too much for my 9" spring form pan, so I made an additional vegetarian version in a smaller springform and after cooking, froze it in the spring form in a ziplock bag. It was equally tasty.
1 lb/450g rigatoni pasta
1-2 tbsp olive oil
1 lb/450g ground beef
2 large cloves garlic, crushed
freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp dried Italian herb blend
1 can (28oz/794g) good quality crushed tomatoes - my fave Muir Glen fire roasted)
pinch or two red chili pepper flakes
1 cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated
8oz/226g Mozzarella, shredded
1. Cook pasta in a large pot of salted water. Slightly under cook from package directions. Drain and toss with 1 tbsp olive oil. Set aside.
2. Heat 1-2 tbsp olive oil in a large, heavy bottom skillet over medium high heat. Add the ground meat, cook stirring occasionally until browned. Add garlic, pepper, red chili pepper flakes, herbs and cook for an additional 2 minutes to incorporate the flavours.
3. Add the crushed tomatoes and simmer until thickened (about 20 minutes). Taste for seasoning and adjust as you think best. Toss with the parmesan cheese.
4. Preheat the oven to 400F/200C
5. Oil the spring form pan. Tightly pack the rigatoni, standing upright. Spread all the meat sauce over the pasta. Using your hands, stuff meat into the holes as much as possible.
6. Sprinkle grated mozzarella over the pasta so that the entire top is covered. Bake 10-15 minutes or until cheese is golden. Remove from oven and let stand for 15 minutes. Run an knife around the edges before opening the spring form latch to loosen.
7. Cut into wedges and serve with salad.
NOTE: I found there was lots of pasta left over and filled a smaller spring form pan with the rest. Another option is to use in regular baking pan, tossed with more sauce and covered with cheese.