Pasta Pie with Fresh Mozzarella and Basil

September 10, 2015
4 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Makes one 9 inch pie
Author Notes

Born of a need to use up leftover pasta, I became fully obsessed with pasta pies - so much so, that now I make them from scratch. —Erin Jeanne McDowell

What You'll Need
  • 1 1/2 pounds bucatini or other long pasta
  • 1 recipe Marcella Hazan's Tomato Sauce (
  • 12 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, grated (as best you can, larger chunks are okay)
  • 6 ounces grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 bunch fresh basil, roughly chopped
  1. Preheat the oven to 375° F. Lightly grease a 9-inch springform pan.
  2. In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the pasta until just under al dente (5 to 6 minutes). Drain well.
  3. In a large bowl, gently toss the pasta with the sauce to coat.
  4. Working strand by strand, form a spiral with the pasta in the base of the pan. Once you’ve built one layer, build another on top of it. In between every 2 to 3 layers, sprinkle a layer of mozzarella. Continue until you’ve used all the pasta and mozz.
  5. Top the final layer generously with the Parmesan. Bake until the top is golden and interior is heated through, 20 to 25 minutes.
  6. Cool for 5 to 10 minutes. Garnish with basil before slicing and serving. Leftovers can keep up to 2 days.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • gabby
  • Beth
  • Irene Van Nostrand
    Irene Van Nostrand
  • creamtea
  • Allison Christian Hanner
    Allison Christian Hanner
I always have three kinds of hot sauce in my purse. I have a soft spot for making people their favorite dessert, especially if it's wrapped in a pastry crust. My newest cookbook, Savory Baking, came out in Fall of 2022 - is full of recipes to translate a love of baking into recipes for breakfast, dinner, and everything in between!

20 Reviews

gabby April 18, 2017
Made tonight. Did not take forever. I did by a few strands at a time, smoothed out in hands so they'd be even. Talked on phone and assembled. Was nice a simple. Could be embellished with sausage, brocolli rabe, something else. Not sure how well it would hold together, but doable.
Beth April 17, 2017
I made this and did the strand-by-strand thing and used a spring-form pan, all per the recipe and it was GORGEOUS. However, it took ages. So, as remarked by others, grab by the tongsful-handful, and just give in a bit of a circular direction as you place it down and all will be well.

Also, as the al dente part was important such that the pasta didn't come out soggy, I went ahead and used this as with "roasted pasta" that I had toasted per the recipe here:, which tastes marvellous and remains al dente almost no matter what. I also used Marcella Hazan's Tomato Sauce for the win. I used a circle of parchment that allowed me to transfer it to a cake plate (oh the elevation effect!) I had carpeted with parsley. It was one of many dishes at our holiday brunch, and the first one to go!
*Worth it*
catalinalacruz April 17, 2017
Kudos for your patience and care. It must have looked very impressive.
Sandra February 25, 2016
I am anxious to try this "method" because I often have leftover pasta. But I like that it is a no meat recipe. Why do people want to add "big juicy meatballs" or "sausage." If you do that, in effect you "de-extinct" this recipe. What is exciting about this pasta recipe is that you use leftovers, and in the market that's one way to afford more expensive items you'd otherwise not buy.
Irene V. January 17, 2016
I had some leftover roasted red pepper sauce that I needed to use up and tried this recipe. Certainly a kind of Zen practice in the kitchen when making this recipe. I have a 6" springform pan which I was thankful for. I might try sliced mozzarella as it might make it easier when building the layers. I wished mine looked las good as the photo provided but practice makes perfect.
creamtea November 12, 2015
I don't think it has to be strand by strand. It's a glorified noodle kugel. Grease a pan, can even be Pyrex, in which case you can just serve from the pan. If in a springform I would use a circle of parchment. I would take it out of the oven making sure the top has browned a little, and after 5-10 mins. run a sharp knife around it then release.
Poodleranch October 13, 2015
Baking this now--it was really hard to try to do strand by strand--I attempted to align the noodles in a similar direction around the pan. It seemed like it will be fine. I used way less than 1.5 pounds of plain spaghetti noodles. I think I have 1/3rd of it left over. I am using a 9" pan. Crossing fingers that it turns out well!
Tonya October 23, 2015
How was it?
Poodleranch October 26, 2015
I think it was pretty good. I just used a good quality jarred sauce. My kids did really like it which was surprising since they don't like red sauce very much. I think the mozarella in the inside was a bit rubbery(maybe I used the wrong kind?) and I would have maybe used other cheese inside that would melt more stringy, and maybe some ricotta. I was trying to figure out how to post a photo of it---it wasn't very hard to sort of get the strands to lay down next to eachtother by handfuls. I'd make again, but wouldn't serve to guests as a main dish. Might work with a couple big juicy meatballs alongside.
Tonya October 28, 2015
Thank you! Just made it, and it was really nice. I just dumped the pasta in the form, and I must say, except for the top which looked messy, when you cut into it, it did looked quite a lot like the photo. So I don't think i matters much. Also it did hold itself quite well, and I used only mozzarella and not a lot of it.
Allison C. October 13, 2015
If you don't want to do strand by strand, just dump layers of your pasta in the pan. I would add some really good sausage to the sauce. And come on people, it shouldn't be hard to get this out of a springform pan. After letting it cool some you just take the sides off and slice. I will definitely be making this recipe!
Julie October 13, 2015
My springform pan is nonstick and I don't want to scratch it. Besides, look at the bottom of the springform pan there!
Allison C. October 13, 2015
Yeah...........the pie was taken off the bottom and placed on the cutting board for the photo. My springform pan is not nonstick. So if you don't want to make it, don't make it!
Nanci October 13, 2015
Who has a pound and 1/2 of bucatini LEFT OVER after making spaghetti? but does sound yummy, still not sure how to get it out of pan, how long to sit before trying to get out of the pan, please add answers to the commenters questions.
MichiganDave October 11, 2015
It looks nice and sounds interesting but limited. Do you ever add meat to it, and if so should it be towards the bottom layer? Any veggies?
Julie October 11, 2015
Strand by strand? And no comment about how to get it out of the springform pan without ending up with just a plain bowl of spaghetti? Seriously?!?
catalinalacruz October 11, 2015
"Strand by strand", this pasta pie is formed!? How long does that take? How about dumping the pasta in the pan a layer at a time, for those of us who aren't into the zen of spiral strand-forming. It may not look as artistic, but it will taste just as good.
Pmg216 October 11, 2015
Seriously! Strand by strand??!!
Ann22 October 11, 2015
Recipe list me at strand by strand!
Pmg216 October 11, 2015
Lost me at the same place. This is a ridiculous recipe.