Who said a birthday cake must be loaded with sugar and whipped cream? Here's a savory cake that served the purpose just fine! I invited friends for dinner with plans of serving birthday cake for dessert...but then the birthday girl said she would bring dessert. So I served the cake for the main course. The pasta cake was an idea I saw on-line...where there are many versions to choose from. I used rigatoni...though I think I will try a spaghetti cake next time. It's a fun way to serve an Italian classic...for kids of any age to enjoy!
- 1 pound rigatoni pasta
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
- 1/4 teaspoons black pepper
- 4 cups prepared pasta sauce (use your favorite bottled variety or prepare your own)
- 1 cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated
- 1 1/2 cups grated Mozzarella cheese
- In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook pasta until slightly underdone (about 2 minutes less than the indicated time). Drain; rinse in cold water and drain again. Toss pasta with 1 tablespoon olive oil and set aside.
- Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef and cook until it's browned, about 5 minutes. (Use a potato masher to break up the lumps of meat while sautéing.) Add the garlic, salt and pepper. Sauté another minute.
- Add pasta sauce and heat through.
- Toss pasta with Parmesan cheese.
- Lightly oil a 9-inch springform pan. Tightly pack pasta into the pan, standing each piece on end. (It really doesn't take long!)
- Spread the meat sauce on top of pasta and push into the holes as much as possible. (I used the handle of a wooden spoon to do this.)
- Bake in a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes.
- Sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top and bake another 15 minutes...until cheese is browned and bubbling.
- Remove from oven and let stand for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the edge to loosen and then un-mold.
- Slice and serve.