I think now is a wonderful time for a little bit of kitchen silliness. Delicious to be sure, but not gourmet or complicated, something with a fun twist. And that is what this spaghetti pie is. Simple cheesy noodles served in a fun pie form with a center of melting cheese oozing out. It makes a wonderful family dinner and the kids could help to make it or be totally in charge if age appropriate. Serving up pasta as a pie makes for a fun little twist and watching the molten stream of cheese pour out brings some oohs and aahs. Admittedly, my photographic skills are not up to the excitement of this presentation.
As a young adult, I made a spaghetti pie with herbs and high-end cheeses and served it with a complex tomato sauce. It was a favorite party piece, but here I go for the fun. To be sure, this is a simple dish, but the combination of cheeses makes its own sauce. You can substitute Havarti or gouda for the fontina (and I mean a domestic fontina, not costly Italian DOP fontina), or asiago or pecorino for the parmesan. You can stir in some cooked ham or bacon or pancetta or add some fresh herbs, but I find this to be perfectly flavorful as is. It can be the amin event of a dinner with a salad on the side, or an accompaniment to a roasted chicken or pork loin.
When you serve the pie, make sure you plate it on a dish with a rim, the cheese really does flow out. Spoon it over the pie slices to serve.
Melting Middle Spaghetti Pie
12 ounces spaghetti
1 Tablespoon butter
5 green onions, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 cup milk
2/3 cups heavy cream
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
3 ½ ounces parmesan cheese, grated
3 ½ ounces fontina cheese, grated
3 ½ ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, shredded
- Cook the spaghetti in a large pot of very well salted water for 10 minutes. You want it just under perfectly tender, as it will cook again in the oven. Drain the spaghetti in a colander and rinse it completely with cold water, tossing it well to rinse it all. Drain until completely cool.
- Melt the butter in a small skillet and sauté the green onions until soft and wilted, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook a further minute until fragrant. Remove from the heat and cool completely.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Wrap the outside of a 9-inch springform pan with a couple of layers of foil and place it on a rimmed baking sheet. Spray the inside thoroughly with cooking spray.
- In the cooled, rinsed and dried pot (or a large bowl), whisk together the eggs, milk and cream. Add the salt and pepper and whisk to combine. Stir in all but ½ cup of the parmesan cheese, and all of the fontina and the mozzarella. Add the cooked onions and garlic and the spaghetti and stir to completely coat the noodles with the sauce and distribute the cheese evenly. I find tongs to be the best tool for this. Transfer the noodles to the prepared pan, making sure the cheese is well distributed. Press the spaghetti evenly to the sides of the pan and smooth the top. Scrape any remaining liquid and cheese over the top of the pie. Bake for 30 minutes, then evenly sprinkle the remaining parmesan cheese over the top and bake for a further 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and cover the springform tightly with foil. Let rest for 20 minutes, then unclip the springform ring and remove. Transfer to a platter with a rim to catch the melted cheese. Slice with a serrated knife, and spoon over the saucy cheese that flows from the center.