Trick or Treat! It’s candy time!!
The key to success on Halloween night is the delicious balance between sweet and savory! If you’re going to go wild with candy, you first have to prepare with a hearty dinner beforehand!
I definitely have a sweet tooth and even though I may only be handing out candy, that does not mean that I have grabbed a couple samples from the bowl! I mean, I have to make sure it tastes good right?! It’s really for the children…
I love making this dish for Halloween! It’s not only incredibly hearty and filling for whatever your night holds, but it’s also really quick to just throw together! I have even made this dish ahead and kept it in the freezer for a few days before baking it off! I actually make this dish into a smaller rectangular mold so I can bake one that night and put the other in the freezer for another night! Two dinners in one?! Sign me up!
Why didn’t the fettuccine go out for Halloween?
It was too alfredo!
Get it?! I may or may not have looked up pasta puns just to include in this blog post…
But, in all seriousness, most of the time pasta can be interchangeable in a recipe; I firmly believe that all pasta is created equal. However, this recipe really needs the rigatoni to help give it that height. The fun part about this dish is that you should be able to cut slices of the pasta dish to serve! So if you were making this dish in a circular pan, it would actually look like a slice of pie (that’s where the name comes from!). If you can’t find rigatoni, that’s totally okay! The dish will turn more into a casserole! But let’s be real, at the end of the day, pasta, cheese, and meat are going to be delicious together either way!
Because of the spooktacular holiday approaching, I decided to add some fun little touches to the top! This would be an awesome time to call those kiddos into the kitchen for them to help! To make these eyeballs, you only need olives and mozzarella balls. I used black olives, but you can get different colored olives from the deli section of your grocery store to make these eyes really creepy and funky! If you’re holding the olive lengthwise, I cut off each edge of the olive, about 1/4 inch thick! Then I just push the olive, gently, onto the mozzarella ball and place on the top of the pie! The spiders take about two olives to make! Take one olive and cut it in half. One half will be the body, the other half I cut into three strips lengthwise. Then take the other olive and cut that olive in half and then into thirds. I place the body down and pick 8 legs that I think came out the best and place them beside the body! The casserole has so much cheese that’ll act as glue to keep everybody together!
I add the creepy crawlies in the last 15 minutes of cook time so they don’t get burned or melt too much! It’s so much fun to put together and adds a nice little spooky touch to dinner!
1 pound of sausage
1 small yellow onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves
1 pound of rigatoni
1 jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce
1 cup of shredded mozzarella
1 cup of parmesan
A small container of small mozzarella balls
1 can of whole black olives
Salt and pepper, to taste
Add the chopped onions to a large saucepan on medium heat on the stove. Cook until lightly translucent, then add in the sausage and garlic. Break the sausage into small pieces, a little bit bigger than a dime! Once the sausage is fully cooked, add about 3/4 of the spaghetti sauce into the meat mixture.
Cook the rigatoni in a large pot of boiling water until almost done, or al dente! You want there to be a slight bite to the pasta because it will keep cooking in the oven!
Drain the water from the rigatoni and sprinkle in most of the parmesan, leaving about a tablespoon left to sprinkle on the top! Stir the pasta and parmesan together!
In a pan, either a springform circular pan or rectangular pan, begin to stand the rigatoni up in the pan! Try to squish them as close together as you can so they will stick together as they bake! Once all the pasta has been stacked together, add the remaining spaghetti sauce over the top. Then, gently spread the meat mixture over the top! Sprinkle with mozzarella and parmesan.
Bake in a 350-degree oven for about 30 minutes! When the 30 minutes are up, you can add in the eyeballs! I took mini mozzarella balls and olives to create these little eyes! I sliced off the very edge of the olive and gently placed it on the mozzarella. Then I placed the mozzarella in pairings across the top! For more gross factor, I made a spider for the top using two olives! I sliced one olive in half lengthwise for the body, and then made little slivers of olives from one whole olive to make the legs! Place the dish back in the oven for another 10-15 minutes!
The mozzarella eyes should be melting down, and the pasta dish should be bubbling! Don’t worry if any eyes spill over the top! It’s Halloween, it’s supposed to be a little spooky and messy!
I wait about 10 minutes to serve it, so the meat sauce and pasta can absorb together!
This dish is so much fun, whether it’s Halloween or not! Spaghetti has always been a classic dish in my household, but stacking the rigatoni together to form a pie is a fun little twist on a classic! Not only is this dish super quick to throw together, but it makes a ton and the leftovers are even better!