In a society that is highly visual, media-driven, we are constantly interacting with food mainly through our sight. It isn’t surprising that so many compilations of food presented in an eye appeasing, innovative way; so commonly pop up on our social media feeds. But our romance with food isn’t brand new.
The old aphorism ascribed to the first-century Roman gourmand Apicius, “We eat first with our eyes”, is the most veracious account of today’s food culture. In the quest to find recipes and methods that turn food easier, tastier, faster, or just a little prettier; people experiment with food all the time. One such food is Pasta – a dish that is both a crowd favorite and takes minimal effort to prepare.
WHERE DID THE TERM HONEYCOMB PASTA COME FROM?
The recipe discussed in this post is a perfect example of how the dominance of visuals, play a significant role in the admiration of food. The credit for this visually stunning dish called HONEYCOMB PASTA goes to, Valentina Mussi of sweetportfolio.
Valentina inspiration comes from nature’s gift of honeycomb pattern. She decided to experiment with tubular pasta like rigatoni. By stacking them up vertically she got the beautiful hexagonal impression of honeybee cells. Then adding cheese & sauce to the pattern & finally baking it to beautiful golden brown layer of cheesiness. And thus was born, the viral tik-tok honeycomb pasta.
This honeycomb pasta is also known as “pasta cake” or “rigatoni pie”. It is nothing more than pasta dressed in your favorite pasta sauce. Want to impress your guests with your presentation skills?? Just serve this stylish deconstructed pasta dish in an unique way!
WHAT SAUCE TO USE? TRY ROASTED TOMATO & PEPPER PASTA SAUCE!!
Most honeycomb pasta recipes are made using basic tomato pasta sauce, but this recipe features roasted tomato & pepper pasta sauce. You really cannot beat my T&P pasta sauce (just using initials here) as it comes together with minimal fuss. You can find the detailed recipe here!!! I changed the sauce from the basic marinara by roasting both tomato & pepper. The smokiness is further enhanced by adding chili flakes. Or you can turn up the heat scale by a notch, by adding jalapenos or serrano peppers, depending on your palate.
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Baked Honeycomb Pasta
- 500 ml Milk
- 4 Tbsps. All purpose flour
- 2 oz. Butter, 50 gms
- 100 gms. Strong cheddar cheese, grated
- Salt & Pepper, to taste
- 350 gms Rigatoni boiled, link in the notes
- 100 gms. Mozzarella cheese chopped or grated, link in the notes
- 5-6 Cherry tomatoes, as garnish
- Greens, to garnish, I used basil
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- Cheese Sauce
- Roasted Tomato & Pepper pasta sauce, recipe in the notes
FOR THE CHEESE SAUCE
- Add butter to a large saucepan
- Add all purpose flour to the butter.
- Roast on low heat till it changes color to light brown.
- Once roasted, pour the milk in. Stir to remove all the lumps.
- Turn the heat to medium and start to whisk the mixture. Keep whisking fast as the mixture comes to the boil – the flour will disappear and the sauce will begin to thicken.
- Add salt & pepper to taste
- Whisk for another 2 mins while the sauce bubbles, then add in grated strong cheddar cheese until all is mixed.
FOR THE PASTA SAUCE
- Refer to Tomato & Pepper Pasta Sauce recipe in the notes
- Preheat the oven to 350℉. Use a 20 cm/ 8” springform or a loose bottom cake tin or a round baking dish.
- Cook the pasta in boiling water for 10 minutes (just before the pasta is al dente)
- Drain (reserve a little pasta water for later use), set aside to cool down.
- Spoon half cup of pasta sauce on the bottom of your cake tin.
- Arrange the boiled rigatoni pasta in the pan so that each piece is standing vertically.
- Place grated mozzarella cheese or chunks on top of rigatoni.
- Spread the remaining pasta sauce on top, then pour over the cheese sauce.
- Place halved cherry tomatoes on top of the sauces.
- Bake the pasta for 30 to 40 minutes or until the top turns golden brown.
- Cool for 5-10 minutes, then remove from the cake pan.
- Slice and serve warm.
- You can replace this sauce with arrabbiata, marinara, passata, or Romesco. Basically any other sauce you desire.
- Meat lovers can add sausages or cooked ground meat to the pasta.
- You can turn this recipe vegan by using vegan friendly cheese.
- Garnishes like basil can also be added to the pasta before baking.
- Both Springfoam pan or regular round cake pan work for this recipe. With round cake pan you will just have to flip the pasta cake using a plate. Not confident that you can flip without making a mess? Simply use a 8″ -9″ springfoam pan.
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