Italian Rigatoni Pie – Italian Recipe Contest Winner | The Daily Dish

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Italian Rigatoni Pie – Italian Recipe Contest Winner

18 Comments | Written on June 12, 2012 at 5:00 am , by

Classic Italian recipes are always a crowd pleaser at mealtime, and that’s why it is so exciting to see something new and creative showcasing our favorite Italian ingredients!  If you like lasagna, wait until you try this innovative “Italian Rigatoni Pie.”  This unique recipe with an updated twist earned top honors in our recent Italian recipe contest.

Congratulations to our latest winner, Celeste Jenkins!

Celeste says, “I am so thrilled and honored to be chosen as the “Italian” recipe contest winner!  For the past several years, I have been sharing my favorite recipes with my readers on my online food blog,  When I originally came across the idea for a pasta pie from Martha Stewart, I knew that I had to put my own spin on it.  After trial and error, I came up with a delicious recipe that pleases the palate as well as the eye.  I literally giggle with delight each time I take down the sides of the springform pan and behold my creation.  It is the freshly grated Parmesan cheese that holds the pasta together for perfect slices of the pie.  Allow your obsessive compulsiveness to shine while pushing the meat sauce down through the rigatoni — the more time you spend on this step, the better results you will obtain.  This is certainly a recipe that will impress your guests!”

Celeste is right, I had so much fun lining up the little rigatoni in the pan!  They stood up nice and straight, and a one pound box of pasta fit the springform pan exactly.  What a unique concept!  I love the innovation and creativity that comes from our fabulous readers and their fantastic creations!

ITALIAN RIGATONI PIE  (click here to view and print recipe)

1 lb Rigatoni

2 Tbsp Olive Oil, divided

1/3 lb Ground Beef

1/3 lb Ground Pork

1/3 lb Ground Veal

Salt, to taste

Pepper, to taste

1 can (28 Oz) Crushed Tomatoes

2 Tbsp Dry Red Wine

1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce

1 tsp Dried Parsley

1/2 tsp Dried Basil

1/4 tsp Garlic Powder, use ½ tsp if you love garlic

1/4 tsp Dried Oregano

1/4 tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes

1 cup Shredded Mozzarella Cheese

1 cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese

1 cup Finely Grated Parmesan Cheese, freshly grated (not the stuff from the green can

4 oz Ricotta Cheese

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the rigatoni and cook until al dente (13 minutes for my pasta). Drain the pasta, rinse in cold water and drain again. Stir in 1 tbsp of the olive oil and set aside. (This keeps the pasta from sticking.)

Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the remaining 1 tbsp olive oil to the pan. Add the beef, pork and veal to the skillet and season with salt and pepper. Stir and cook the meat until it is no longer pink. Drain the meat and return it to the pan (draining is optional). Stir in the crushed tomatoes, red wine, Worcestershire sauce, parsley, basil, garlic powder, oregano and red pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Gently stir the finely grated Parmesan cheese into the cooked rigatoni. Stand the rigatoni up vertically in a greased springform pan. You should use the entire pound of the cooked pasta for this.

Gently spread the ricotta cheese on top of the rigatoni in a thin, even layer.

Carefully pour the meat sauce over all. This is the most time-consuming part. With clean hands, use your fingers to carefully push the meat sauce down into the rigatoni. As you push the meat sauce down, you will also push the ricotta cheese into the rigatoni, which will help keep this dish from being dry. The more time you spend on this step, the better results you will obtain — allow your obsessive-compulsiveness to shine! I spent about 8 minutes on this step.

Set the springform pan on a baking sheet and place it in the oven. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove the pie from the oven. Sprinkle the mozzarella and cheddar cheese evenly over all. Return the pie to the oven and cook for 15 minutes longer.

Remove the pie from the oven and allow it to stand in the sprinform pan for at least 15 minutes. Carefully run a knife along the edge of the pan to loosen the pie from the pan. Remove the sides of the sprinform pan.

Slice the pie and garnish with parsley, if desired.


Use the rigatoni that is approximately 1 inch long. Make sure you freshly grate your Parmesan cheese because the pasta will not stick together if you use the grated cheese from a green can. Also, as mentioned below, allow your obsessive compulsiveness to shine while pushing the meat sauce down through the rigatoni. The more time you spend on this, the better results you will obtain.

I would also like to congratulate our Reader’s Choice winner, Tammy Souther, for her “Italian Chicken and Artichoke Stuffed Portobello!”

Remember, there are always two ways to win the weekly recipe contest.  There is the “Judge’s Choice” winner who receives $250 and a chance at the $2500 grand prize at the end of the contest, as well as the $250 “Reader’s Choice” winner voted on by YOU, the readers of Better Recipes!

The weekly recipe contest theme this week is “Pie” and you have until Saturday at midnight to submit your best creations!

In addition, we are hosting a special contest for the month of June!  You can enter your best “Copy Cat” recipes from your favorite restaurants for a chance at a $1,000 prize!  There will also be four “Reader’s Choice” winners (one each week) for a $250 prize.  Good luck everyone!

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