Pasta

What's the Cheesy, Saucy New Pasta Trick TikTok Is Buzzing Over?

Is this trending 'honeycomb pasta recipe' really the bee's knees?

April  8, 2021
Photo by Julia Gartland

The newest TikTok food trend storming the internet is, of course, about pasta. This time around, however, there’s no feta, no cherry tomatoes, and no Finnish food bloggers involved. And this time, the pasta is in the shape of a honeycomb.

It all started when TikTok user Anna Rothfuss (@bananalovesyoutoo) posted a video of what’s being deemed "honeycomb pasta" to her page. Her approach is unique: She nestles rigatoni side by side in a springform pan with the tubular openings facing skyward. Arranged all together, they form a visually pleasing honeycomb pattern. She then stuffs each pasta tube with a section of string cheese, and pours tomato sauce over the top so it drips down to the bottom of the pan. On top of all that goes cooked ground beef and a smattering of shredded mozzarella before it’s popped into the oven and baked. What emerges is an ooey-gooey pasta dish that Rothfuss cuts into like a cake as her camera person oohs and aahs.

The honeycomb pasta cake has caused quite a stir during its short but powerful tenure. The original video has more than 11 million views on TikTok alone. It’s also making the rounds on Twitter, where users have a lot to say about her culinary approach. While some claim blasphemy, others are quick to point out that the honeycomb has a lot in common with baked ziti, save for its vertical orientation.

Others have taken to TikTok to try their hands and lend the honeycomb pasta recipe their own spin. User @thehungerdiaries gave her honeycomb a Greek twist and made a version inspired by pastitsio, a kind of Greek lasagna. Her rendition includes layers of béchamel and bolognese. Jamie Milne (@everything_delish) made two versions: one with a vodka sauce and another that used the aforementioned feta pasta sauce for a rare combination of two viral food videos in one appetizing package.

While Italians are known to have strict standards surrounding their pasta preparation, there’s no harm in a little off-roading. This pasta cake proves that though bucking convention might leave some a bit bewildered, there’s always room for a little experimentation.

Would you try the honeycomb pasta cake at home? Let us know how you’d do it in the comments below.

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Valerio is a freelance food writer, editor, researcher and cook. He grew up in his parent's Italian restaurants covered in pizza flour and drinking a Shirley Temple a day. Since, he's worked as a cheesemonger in New York City and a paella instructor in Barcelona. He now lives in Berlin, Germany where he's most likely to be found eating shawarma.

5 Comments

Sandra313 April 11, 2021
This explains why I saw starkly empty displays of string cheese at
both Trader Joe’s and Target this week. I thought it was just because the kiddos are going back to in-person learning. OASN: still no blocks of feta at either, but I go to my local Armenian market for that, which has plenty to chose from.
 
Amy April 8, 2021
Nothing is new under the sun. Martha Stewart published her recipe for baked ziti this "honeycomb" format back in 2005 :-)
https://www.marthastewart.com/356443/baked-ziti-with-ground-beef
 
Laura A. April 8, 2021
Jamie Oliver did a similar recipes years ago, also. It was even easier because you put the pasta (cannelone, but I tried it with large rigatoni) into a pan deep enough to have them standing up, You put sautéed spinach in the bottom of the pan, then add ricotta, cooked ground meat, sauce and cheese and bake. It was glorious looking!
 
carswell April 9, 2021
I’m pretty sure I saw one on Lady & Pups a few years ago.
 
Ann S. April 8, 2021
I'd rather do the work and make manicotti.