Vermicelli Pie

This is one of what I call my “Hail Mary dinners”–quick and easy entrées that can be whipped up when you completely forget you have to feed your family. Which happens more often than I care to admit…

Vermicelli Pie
Makes 6 to 8 servings

Vermicelli noodles are slightly thinner than spaghetti; their name is Italian for “little worms.” You can substitute spaghetti in this recipe, but it’s always fun—especially if you’re cooking for boys—to tell them dinner is worm pie. Be sure to use a deep-dish pie plate, or the ingredients won’t fit. This is also great with Italian pork or turkey sausage instead of ground beef.

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 pound ground beef sirloin (93% lean)
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups tomato sauce
1/2 cup pitted and coarsely chopped Kalamata olives
8 ounces vermicelli or thin spaghetti
2 large eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup (1 1/2 ounces) freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded fresh mozzarella cheese (partially freeze the cheese for easier shredding)

1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly oil a 9- to 9 1/2-inch (6- to 7- cup capacity) deep-dish pie plate.

2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the ground sirloin and garlic and cook, stirring often and breaking up the meat with the side of the spoon, until it loses its raw look, about 6 minutes. Add the sauce and olives and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until the sauce thickens, about 5 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the vermicelli and cook according to the package directions until al dente. Do not overcook. Drain well in a colander. Transfer to a bowl. Add the beaten eggs and melted butter and mix well. Add the grated Parmigiano, salt, and pepper and mix again.

4. Pour the vermicelli mixture into the pie plate. Spread the mixture with your fingers to form a thick shell, like a piecrust. Spread the ricotta in the bottom of the shell. Top with the tomato sauce.

5. Bake for 20 minutes. Sprinkle with the mozzarella and continue baking until the mozzarella melts, about 5 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve.

Mad60s – From Fabulicious! by Teresa Giudice with Heather Maclean

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