Saturday, June 20, 2009

Pasta Pie

I know, I know. I started this blog three weeks ago and am just now getting around to updating it, but I'm not mad about it, so you shouldn't be, either.

I've had quite an interesting few weeks, with my laptop crashing twice in a 2 day period, attending camp for a week and getting a new kitten (kitten, kitten,kitten), but last week I tried out my very first recipe! I picked a pasta dish, since I figured it would be something easy to start out with, and I was mostly correct.

The recipe I decided to try was the Pasta Pie, which I found on Noble Pig via FoodGawker. (Sorry, I'm a little link happy today.) So without much more ado, here's some photo documentation that I actually attempted this recipe!

First things first: The Ingredients.
Pictured here are:
Ground Beef
Whole tomatoes
Parmesan cheese
Garlic cloves

Before we start anything, though, the noodles must begin boiling! So here they are... Boiling.

I've never been the best judge at Pasta. When eating it regularly, I prefer for my noodles to be pretty soft and squishy. I am very textural, so rubbery pasta is not my favorite thing to eat.

I know that the recipe on NoblePig's site said to use the highest quality ingredients to make this dish the best it could be, but in all reality, I am going to be at school and (possibly) working a part-time job, so I won't have the money to pay for high-quality ingredients... So we've got generic brand canned whole tomatoes... Which I had to crush myself.

I know, you can SEE my elation at squishing these tomatoes. Every time I squeezed one with my (accurately cleansed hands), it would squirt tomato juice all over the counter and my dress. Not a clean activity... Plus, my hands were red for quite a while afterwards.

I eventually had to take this handy dandy tool and finish the job, because my hands just weren't cutting it.

Next, I crushed some garlic with this equally handy-dandy tool. (As you can tell, my mother is quite the Pampered Chef fan.)

The pasta was done (I think?) so I took it out, strained it and tossed it with a tablespoon of olive oil, then set it aside.

Then it was time to brown the meat, which was also completed with the help of that sweet mix/chop/mash tool that I used for the tomatoes.

While the meat browned, I did a little sidework with buttering my spring-form pan and cleaning up the mess I'd created so far.

Once the meat was finished browning, I added the garlic, crushed tomatoes and some freshly ground pepper. It was left to simmer for about 20 minutes. Note to self: Don't use so much olive oil to cook the meat/drain some of the juice/oil out before adding the tomatoes.

So while the sauce was simmering (and making my kitchen smell AMAZING) I took on the part of this recipe that I was dreading... It was the crucial piece of this dish, and I could only pray that it would go well!

I added a cup of shredded/grated Parmesan cheese to the noodles and gave a few tosses to get all of the noodles nice and coated.

Then I began the process of putting the pasta into the pain... Which was pretty frustrating at times. The pasta (generic brand) was not the same height at all, and many of the pieces were broken and hard to stand up. My fingers got pretty oily/cheesy, too... But it was still fun, and the finished pan...

Looked very pretty!

I was very, VERY pleased with how it looked when I was done. It looks like you have it filled up when you first get the pan full of noodles, but there is ALWAYS room for more.

The leftovers!

So here is the nearly-finished-project! The meat sauced packed all up into those noodles!

Baked in the oven for a bit...

And then the cheese added!

The finished product!

So here is a slice! I made garlic-bread-sticks and a nice Caesar salad to eat with it.

So a review of MY version of this recipe?... Well, I felt like the sauce could have been more saucy than chunky. It didn't get down into the noodles the way NoblePig's did. Plus, like I said above, the amount of oil/fat juice that was in the meat when I added the tomatoes made it kinda soupy with big chunks of the meat and tomatoes... So I think next time I'll actually try crushed tomatoes and maybe even a little bit of spaghetti sauce to give it a more Italian-y flavor instead of a Fazoli's flavor.

Thanks for reading! Until next time!

And if you would like this recipe, once again here is the link to NoblePig's website: When the moon hits the sky...

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