Pop Quiz: Are You Patient Enough to Make This?

I’m going to be honest. Time is passing disturbingly fast and I haven’t been cooking that much. Nothing worthy of mentioning and recording it here. Usually I have lunch with H several times a week, this week I barely stayed at home. Usually I tackle 3 to 4 new recipes per week, the past few week or so, I have been cooking uber simple meals like pasta salad. Usually I read before I sleep, these days I barely have the strength to keep my eyes open. I’m asleep by 10 every night this week. I was that dog-tired.

But I did make something that I want to mention here. Something fun and exciting that anyone with children should do (I have many adopted big boys). Ever since I saw the pasta pie photos at Noble Pig blog, I knew this is the one dish that I have to have R over.

Pasta pie from Noble Pig

Photo from Noble Pig

So I tried.

Do you know how longggggg it took me to assemble the rigatoni? To make sure they are standing up straight? Do you know how long it took me to stuff the rigatoni individually? Cathy from the Noble Pig blog found it weirdly satisfying. I couldn’t disagree more. This is one task that I have no problem assigning to others (and I don’t typically let go of things).

I changed few things obviously. And I was too embarassed to post the photo. It was so disastrous that I didn’t even bother to take photo. Basically, mine didn’t stand as a pie like Cathy’s. But here’s what I learn:

~ The most important thing is to have the rigatoni structure stands. So that when you cut it from the top (like slicing a piece of cake), it will still stand erect and still. Hence, instead of having the “glue” cheese on the top, I think it would be better to have the rigatoni glued to each other on the sides.

~ The original recipe uses parmesan to glue the rigatoni side by side. But I personally don’t think parmesan is the right cheese. I suspect shredded soft cheese like emmental or edam would work better. Because when they melt, they would turn liquidy. And when they are cold, they would turn pretty hard.

~ I suspect that once you have these strong pillars, it doesn’t matter what kind of cheese you put on the top. You can use cream cheese or cheddar or anything that you like. The key is to make sure the rigatoni stands rigid.

~ The recipe also calls for 40 mins baking in total, but I personally hate dry, tough brittle pasta. Hence I reduce the baking period. The rigatoni is almost cooked, the bolognaise meat sauce is cooked and cheeses melt pretty fast. In fact, I think I baked mine only for 10 mins and we felt the pasta had the right chewiness.

~ Next time I would use a piping bag to fill in each rigatoni. To do by hand and by poking the bolognaise into each rigatoni is just too frustrating and time consuming.

~ Last but not least, this recipe is for keep! I definitely want to do this again, and test my assumptions above. I also want to substitute some of the meat with diced carrots. To make it less heavy, giving additional texture to the food and slipping in veggies!! 🙂

Have a nice weekend everyone!

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