WHOA!… .Right ?! But before you say, "It sounds good, but I will never do it," believe me, it's easy. Not only Great easy, but if you remove whole wheat pasta, use low-fat cheese and Greek yogurt instead of sour cream, it can also be quite low-fat and healthy! But I did not do it. Noooo, I went all the way, I put him out of the park, out of breath to die, kill me now goodness !! Ha! My only excuse is that it was for a special day and I didn't want to skimp on anything. And it was AH-MAZING. Incredibly good! The only thing that worried me when I was preparing this recipe was: how well did the taco meat go with the rigatoni pasta? I was a little, just a little be careful, worried that it could be confusing for the palate and "weird". But it was not at all! On the contrary! They acted like they had known each other from the start and were just waiting for me to see for myself! Really opens many doors to new ideas! I really don’t know why I didn’t think about it a long time anyway, I mean, I’ve been making Mexican lasagna for over 20 years, it’s also die for which I use for regular lasagna noodles, unlike most recipes that use tortilla shells. (Face-palm!) Okay, so it's easy, but of course it takes longer than preparing a taco pan, I mean, let's be real here. The only thing that took time was to break the sausage into small pieces. I ended up doing it with my fingers, so if you have a better way to do it, let me know! But if you cook the sausage and break it the day before, it will go really quickly. Just advice. Will I personally do this again? IN. A. THE HEART.
So here we go with a picture so you can see each step clearly. Lots of pictures, but again, believe me, it's really, really easy !!
Cut the sausage casings with scissors to the bottom, remove the sausage and break it down into small pieces as you add it to the pan:
Blow and break as much as possible. The more you break it down during cooking, the less you will have to do afterwards.
Now, you may think it's good, but it isn't. Go further and divide it into small pieces. Remember, the idea is to be able to fit into the pasta. See the comparison here?
It’s really the only part that takes time. Then announced my seasoning mix.
Add the tomatoes and green peppers…
… Then the rest of the meat ingredients, simmer and thicken. Put aside.
Then cook the noodles and mix with the cheese.
Get up, get close but don't close the noodles in a greased hinged pan. (No parchment necessary.) * I had a few noodles left. They did not get lost. 😉
Pour and place the meat on top, pressing lightly on the noodles with the back of the spoon, smoothing with the spoon which comes and goes. Do not worry, everything is fine.
Bake and remove from the oven. Garnish with cheese and cook again.
Prepare the toppings while the pasta pie is resting and decorate the top as desired.
Go simple and stack in the center, or make a nice design on top!
Now for the big “tah-dah!” Release the ring and slowly start spinning to make sure none of the noodles have stuck. None of mine did. (* I had a knife all around, just in case, but it was not necessary and I destroyed a few noodles just a little. But no biggie.) So see if there are any, then use a knife to release from the hinge ring.
And that's really all there is to it! You see, I told you it was easy! Come closer … it doesn't smell good? !!!
Ok, ok, I won't tease you anymore. But I hope you will do that, it's really worthy of the company and make a great presentation! It's so good that my husband and I were sad to eat the last one! You can also easily do this for the company the day before. Cover and refrigerate directly in the hinge and simply cook the day of the event! Make extra toppings available, serve with refried beans, salsa and guacamole with dips for tortilla chips, fresh summer fruit and melon, and some frozen margaritas and Mexican beers with fresh lime and it's a party! Have fun and I hope you enjoy! Have a great day!
MEXICAN RIGATONI PIE PIE
6 to 8 people
1 C. salt seasoning, I like to use “Johnny’s”
1/4 tsp. Cayenne
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1 C. chili powder
1 C. paprika
1 C. garlic powder
1 C. cumin
1 Tbl. dried minced onions
REST OF INGREDIENTS:
1 package Johnsonville Sweet Italian Sausages, casings removed, crumbled in pan
1 C. Superior Touch Better Than Bouillon Beef Base, or your favorite beef broth
1 cup of water
2 cans (10 oz.) Rotel tomatoes, diced or hot, with green peppers, undrained
1 Tbl. cornstarch + 1 Tbl. cold water, well mixed in a "porridge"
1 can (16 oz) Barilla Rigatoni noodles or your own brand preference
1/2 cup fresh parmesan, finely grated
1/2 cup shredded Sargento Mexican cheese 5 mixes
+ 2 cups Mexican cheese
SOME TOP SUGGESTIONS TO CHOOSE:
roma tomato slices
sour cream or Greek yogurt
thinly slice the green onions or chives
marinated jalapeño slices
salsa or * pico de gallo (* see my recipe under “Aperitifs”)
sliced black olives
In a small bowl, combine the spice mixture and set aside. Cut open casings of sausage with kitchen scissors from one end to the other, remove the casing and add the meat to a large pan with an airtight lid, breaking them into small pieces as you go. Sauté the sausages, breaking them as you go, until they are cooked and more pink inside. * Break as small as possible during cooking for convenience later. Once the sausage is cooked, remove from the pan with a slotted spoon in a plate lined with absorbent paper. Rinse and wipe the pan clean. Using your fingers, break and crumble the sausage into the pan in very small pieces. * You must crumble the sausage so that it later fits into the rigatoni noodles.
Sprinkle the spice mixture evenly over the sausage. Stir well. Add the two boxes, undrained, of diced tomatoes and green peppers. I used soft, but you can use the hot original if you prefer.
In a cup, add 1 cup of water and 1 tsp. beef broth base and nuke until boiling. Mix well to dissolve, add to the pan, mix well. Bring to a boil over high heat, place on an airtight lid, reduce to medium-low heat and high boil / low boil for 30 minutes. Remove the lid, mix the cornstarch and cold water until a suspension is obtained. Pour into the mixture, stirring and cook for 1 to 2 minutes more. Remove from heat and mash the tomatoes with a fork, pressing to break. Set aside, covered.
While the meat and tomato mixture is cooking, bring a pot of water to a boil and boil the rigatoni al dente noodles. I used Barilla and cooked them for 12 minutes. Drain well and discard in a large bowl. Combine parmesan and 1/2 cup mexi-cheese mixture and add to pasta. Mix immediately to mix and coat.
Preheat the oven to 400.Oil a 9-inch springform pan, bottom and sides, well with butter cooking spray. Place the noodles in the pan while standing. Close together, but not too tight to close the noodles. I had about 5-6 noodles left. They did not get lost. 😉 (I had used parchment paper on the bottom, but I realized that it was not necessary and that it was difficult to take out a slice and that I will not use it next time.) Make sure you just oil the pan well, that's it.
Stir the meat sauce well and ladle over the noodles, smooth and lightly press the noodles with the back of a spoon. Do not worry, everything is fine. Place on aluminum foil and wrap outside of pan if yours is leaking like mine. I hate my springform pan. I also put it on a pizza pan lined with aluminum foil for good measure. Mine hasn't leaked at all, but will still use aluminum foil anyway because my pan is very unpredictable and I hate it when things turn upside down and burn in my oven. Bake in the preheated oven at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Remove, garnish with 2 cups of Mexican cheese and cook for another 15 minutes. Let stand 20-30 minutes.
Garnish with your favorite toppings of your choice. Indicate the others that you, your family or your guests would like to add to their room. Gently release the hinge, turn a little to make sure no noodles are stuck. (None of mine did.) Lift up and out slowly. With a very sharp knife, cut into pie wedges and serve with a pie server. Enjoy!!