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Rigatoni Pie
...in your mind.
Rigatoni Pie

Rigatoni Pie

Spicy sausage ragu and a luxuriously smooth pesto & parmesan bechamel - need I say more? Oh, and there’s cheese.


  • 1 1/2 pounds dried rigatoni, the larger ones
  • Olive oil
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 1/2 large onion, any color is fine really
  • 1 pound spicy Italian sausage
  • 2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • Kosher salt & coarse ground pepper
  • 4 tablespoon butter
  • 4 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons basil pesto
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese


  1. Cook pasta in a lot of boiling, salted water 9 minutes, drain well, then put into a large bowl and gently toss with about a tablespoon of the oil - set aside to cool
  2. Chop carrot, celery and onion into medium chunks, and blend or process until finely chopped up - set aside
  3. Heat a large pan over medium/high heat, add a tablespoon of oil and the sausage
  4. Cook, breaking up into very small pieces just until there’s no more red, 4-5 minutes
  5. Add the carrot mixture, and stir through well to combine
  6. Then add the Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes - mix well and let cook a couple minutes
  7. Make a place in the middle, add a teaspoon of oil and the garlic - and after about 30 seconds when it becomes super fragrant, mix it in
  8. Add the tomatoes, a teaspoon of salt and a half teaspoon of pepper, stir well to combine then turn down to a low simmer and leave 15 - 20 minutes to let the flavors build
  9. Preheat oven to 400
  10. Let’s make the bechamel: in a small pot melt the butter, then whisk in the flour a little at a time, stirring well all the way (we don’t want a lumpy bechamel)
  11. Now start whisking in the milk a little at a time until it’s all been incorporated - no lumps
  12. Add a good pinch salt & pepper and the garlic powder - whisk well
  13. Leave to simmer on low until it thickens, then stir in the parmesan and pesto - damn it’s getting good - mix well
  14. Grease a spring form pan, and start standing up the now cooled rigatoni, until the pan is completely filled
  15. Now drizzle the bechamel evenly over the rigatoni, try to drizzle some into the rigatoni tubes
  16. Spoon the sausage ragu over the top of the bechamel until covered - you prob won’t use it all, and that’s fine, because it freezes well and you can use it for about a thousand other things
  17. Cover with foil and bake 15 minutes
  18. Remove the foil, and top evenly with the mozzarella, and return to the oven uncovered for 15 minutes
  19. Remove, and let rest loosely covered with foil another 15 minutes or so to firm up a bit before cutting