Here goes a pasta dish that is perfect for people on a shoestring. It looks really fancy, but is in fact not much more than a pasta Bolognese (or tomato sauce, if you want a veggie version)! You use a spring-form pan, stand up all the rigatoni pasta in it and «fill» with tomato sauce and a mix of parmesan and mozzarella. There are 2 ways to make this – either you prepare the tomato sauce from scratch or you use your favorite bought jar of tomato sauce. Have fun!

Check out the recipe

Ingredients for 4-6
Recipe adapted from
500g rigatoni pasta
500g of ground beef (for veggie version, just leave out the meat)
1-2 glasses of favorite tomato sauce (stay tuned, will share the best recipe for a Bolognese sauce soon! I used the home-made version for this dish)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups grated parmesan cheese (divided)
1 pack buffalo mozzarella, grated
1 small container of cottage (or ricotta) cheese
1 tablespoon crème fraiche (optional)
A handful fresh basil leaves

Pre-heat the oven to 200°C.

Boil water with salt and «undercook» the rigatoni slightly, about 1-2 minutes less than on the pack, so they are still hard enough to stand. Drain the pasta and rinse under cold water, so you can touch them without burning yourself!

Toss the pasta with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and add 1 cup of the parmesan cheese, until evenly distributed. Set aside.

In a large frying pan or pot, roast the ground beef, add the jar of pasta sauce and bring to boil and then let simmer for 10-15 minutes (add water, if the sauce gets too dry).
While waiting for the sauce to cool down a bit, purée the cottage cheese and mix with the crème fraiche. Set aside.

In a spring-form pan, add 1-2 scoops of the tomato sauce on the bottom. Take the cooked rigatoni and stand each piece up on its end until the whole pan is tightly packed and it seems like lots of little pasta holes are looking at you! Pour the sauce over the top and poke the meat into the rigatoni – I used a spoon to carefully spread the mix and shook the spring-form pan from time to time so that everything spread itself.

Now spread the cottage cheese and crème fraiche mix evenly on top of the sauce. Sprinkle the top with the mozzarella and then the grated parmesan and bake in the oven for about 20 minutes, until the cheese on the top has melted and has a golden brown color.
Let stand for 10 minutes (yes, it’s super hot!) and run a knife around the edge of the pan to help remove the pasta pie from the spring-form. Top with fresh basil, if desired. Tadaa!