Using freshly ground beef makes for a lighter meat crust. If you want a spicy pasta pie, use marinara sauce with a little red hot chili pepper.
- 1 cup fresh bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, divided
- 1/2 teaspooon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 3 eggs, slightly beaten
- 1 1/2 pound (24 ounces) ground beef (preferably freshly ground)
- 14 ounces ditalini pasta, about 5 cups cooked
- 1 pound (16 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese
- 3 cups marinara 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, onion, 1/2 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 3/4 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.
Bake at 350 for 1-1/2 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.