Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Spaghetti Pi(e)

Yesterday, March 14th was Pi Day! Pi of course being the irrational number 3.14.... used to find measurements like area in circles.  I'll admit that math is not my favorite subject, but I am a big fan of the food pie, so any day where there is an excuse to make some pie sounds good to me!  My husband who loves math, (he does it for fun!), says that we should wait and celebrate Tau Day because tau, (6.28....), is a better and more accurate number for working with circles.  He says why use 2πr when you can just use τr?   Despite what the mathematicians say, I think I will stick with Pi Day, because tau just isn't as tasty as pie!

I took me a little while to decide what kind of pie I should make for our mathematical celebration. It was a weekday after the daylight savings time change, the day before pay day, and the kitchen could stand to be cleaner than it is. (Okay, that last one pretty much applies to every  day!)  Due to that I knew I wanted something not too labor intensive with ingredients that I pretty much already had on hand. I almost decided on my brother's pocket pie recipe, I felt like for Pi Day the end product should be a circle rather than a rectangle. Finally, it came to me. I remembered one of my favorite dishes I used to make as a little girl from my American Girl cookbook - spaghetti pie! I love that I can still get use out something I learned in elementary school.  Basically it is spaghetti with meat sauce, but put together like a pie so you can serve it in slices. It really is a wonderful weeknight family dinner, and the presentation adds a factor (math pun not intended), of fun. The original recipe included diced onions and green peppers in the meat sauce component, but due to a recent indecent with the 6 year old involving, (gasp!), onions in the taco meat I decided to leave them out. I also substituted whole wheat pasta and ground turkey for regular pasta and ground beef. A simple salad with some easy homemade dressing made for a nice accompaniment, and for dessert I whipped up some instant chocolate pudding and poured it over a graham cracker crust. I used some peppermint chips for my pi symbol decoration. Happy Pi Day everyone!

Spaghetti Pie

8 oz whole wheat spaghetti
1 egg
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp soft butter
1/2 pound ground turkey or beef
1 cup of pasta sauce
3/4 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions : 

1. Boil the spaghetti in salted water until done. Drain and rinse in cold water.
 2. Beat together the egg, Parmesan, and butter. Mix with the spaghetti.
3. Grease a pie pan with a little bit of shortening. Press the spaghetti mixture into the pie pan to form the crust.
4. Brown the ground meat and add the pasta sauce. (optional, add diced onions and green peppers)
5. Spread the ricotta cheese in a layer over the spaghetti crust. Top with the meat and sauce mixture. Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese over the top.
6. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
7. Let cool for 10 minutes after it comes out of the oven. Slice and enjoy!

    -  You can also whip up this easy dressing to serve with your salad!

 Italian Dressing in a Jar

In a  jar with a tight fitting lid, combine:

1/2 tsp minced garlic
2/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
Dried basil, dried oregano, and onion powder to taste ( this means I eyeballed it!)

Put the lid on the jar and shake to combine. Easy peasy lemon squeezy! 
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