In my family, a dinner of pasta with meat sauce always goes over just fine. Even though nobody’s going to cheer and shout, “ordinary but satisfying” is just fine by me on a Monday night. Or most nights out of the week, frankly. But if you ever feel like pushing your regular weeknight meal to the outer edge of ordinary without much more effort at all, then this easy gluten free spaghetti pie is the way to go.
If you already have your own way of making spaghetti pie, don’t let me stand in your way. This is just my favorite way, and I’ve tried a few methods. Ever since Barilla started making gluten free pasta, I’ve become so partial to the brand that I find myself cursing them for not making gluten free lasagna noodles. If you can use their gluten free spaghetti noodles, do that. If not, especially for this sort of dish, you almost can’t go wrong as long as you undercook the pasta and keep it separated during boiling.
A few words about the method assembly: yes, you really do need the eggs mixed in with the pasta to make the “crust,” as the spaghetti doesn’t hold together as a crust otherwise. You could probably skip the parm, but please don’t (!). I find that adding only the eggs and parm to the spaghetti, instead of adding some of the tomato sauce, leads to a more moist pie that holds together exceptionally well when sliced.
One of my three children has a hard and fast no-leftover pasta rule. I’ve tried everything (including trying to trick her), and she simply can’t abide reheated pasta (gluten free or otherwise), so I was wondering if this pie would go over well. I’m happy to report that she loved it. Oh, and one more note about prep: making this in a cake pan rather than a pie plate means that we can make a bigger pie. If you’d prefer a pie plate, you’ll have leftover ingredients and might need to make a second, smaller pie, too. Not a huge problem. :)
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Prep time:Cook time:Yield:1 9-inch pie
2 eggs (100 g, weighed out of shell), at room temperature
1 ounce Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, finely grated
2 tablespoons (28 g) extra virgin olive oil
12 ounces gluten free spaghetti
1 pound lean ground beef
1 yellow onion, peeled and diced
2 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 28-ounce can tomato puree (or 1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, pureed until smooth)
Preheat your oven to 375°F. Grease a 9-inch round or square cake pan, and set it aside.
In a small bowl, beat the eggs, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and 1 tablespoon of oil until well-combined, then set the bowl aside. Cook the pasta according to package directions, but boil for at least 2 minutes less than the recommended time. Drain the cooked pasta and return it to the pot. Add the beaten egg mixture, and toss the spaghetti to coat completely. Place the spaghetti mixture in the prepared cake pan and press it into the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Press as firmly as you can to compress the pasta. Set the pan aside.
In a medium-size, heavy-bottom skillet, cook the ground beef over medium-high heat until no longer pink. Remove the beef from the skillet, drain any grease and set aside. Heat the remaining olive oil in the same skillet over medium-high heat, and sauté the diced onion and garlic until the garlic is fragrant and the onion is translucent (about 6 minutes). Remove the garlic and discard it. Add the salt, pepper, oregano (pressing the dried oregano between your palm and forefinger to release the oils) and basil, return the cooked ground beef to the skillet and add the tomato puree. Mix to combine.
Scrape the tomato sauce and ground beef mixture on top of the cooked spaghetti in the pan and spread into an even layer. Top with the grated mozzarella cheese in a single, even layer.*
Place the pan in the center of the preheated and bake until the cheese is melted and the spaghetti “crust” is lightly golden brown (about 25 minutes). Remove from the oven and allow to set at room temperature for about 5 minutes before slicing into wedges, sprinkling with fresh torn basil, and serving.
*Make Ahead Option: At this point in the recipe, the pie can be cooled and wrapped tightly, then frozen unbaked for up to a month—or refrigerated for up to 2 days. Defrost in the refrigerator, and then continue with the recipe instructions. You may need to add on a few minutes to the bake time for a refrigerated pie.