Honeycomb pasta aka rigatoni pie aka pasta pie is having a moment.

People are calling it an affront to food and Italians are turning over in their graves. I especially like the meme where someone is literally just *screaming.*

But why? I mean, honeycomb pasta is rigatoni stacked up in a springform pan, topped with sauce and cheese and baked up into a pie. You could say that it’s kind of like a lasagna but with rigatoni. Or mini upright manicotti or cannelloni.

I’ve made a rigatoni and cheese pie way back in the day without stacking the rigatoni into a honeycomb shape and I loved it. I had to give honeycomb pasta a try and see what all the fuss was about. Spoiler alert, I loved it!

Honeycomb Pasta | www.iamafoodblog.com

What is honeycomb pasta?

Honeycomb pasta is what people are calling rigatoni pie or pasta pie. Essentially, it’s rigatoni – a medium sized tube shaped pasta – that’s stacked upright in a pan, topped with sauce and cheese and baked. In the viral honeycomb pasta video that’s going around, each rigatoni is stuffed with mozzarella string cheese.

stuffed rigatoni for honeycomb pasta | www.iamafoodblog.com

Why are people hating on honeycomb pasta?

Apparently there’s a honeycomb pasta divide and you can either be for or against. There is no saucy middle ground. It’s been called “cursed” on twitter but lots of people have also come to its defense.

I think the issue people have is the fact that the viral honeycomb pasta video going around is made with jarred sauce, string cheese, and fried ground meat. I admit, it’s a lot of string cheese, but hey, I love string cheese and I don’t think it’s a bad thing. String cheese is literally low moisture mozzarella, the kind they use on pizza.

Mike, who has mild trypophobia, disagreed with me and explained another possible reason to me, so I made sure to make a version that doesn’t trigger his phobia too much.

honeycomb pasta before baking | www.iamafoodblog.com


What does honeycomb pasta taste like

It’s delicious! If you love baked pastas like lasagna or baked ziti, you’ll love honeycomb pasta. Super savory, tomato-y beef sauce, tender pasta, and loads of gooey melty cheese baked to perfection. It’s so good, especially if you take the time to make a really good sauce like we’re going to do here.

How to make honeycomb pasta

  1. Make a meat sauce: sauté some ground beef until lightly brown but not crispy, then remove from the pot. In the same pot, sauté onions with carrots and celery in olive oil until soft and very tender. Add the beef back into the pot and stir in tomato paste, beef stock, and cream. Let simmer, reduce, and bubble away while you prep the pasta.
  2. Cook the pasta: boil the pasta in salted water 2-3 minutes less than the package directions and drain well. Toss with parm if you want an extra cheesy pie.
  3. Honeycomb: Lightly oil a springform pan and pack the rigatoni, vertically, inside the pan. Slide in sticks of low moisture mozzarella into half (or all) of the rigatoni.
  4. Sauce: Top the rigatoni with the meat sauce, making sure it gets into all the holes.
  5. Cheese: Top with sliced or shredded mozzarella and a sprinkling of parm.
  6. Bake: Bake for 30 minutes in the oven, or until the cheese is golden brown and crispy.
  7. Cool and enjoy: Let cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes, then slice and enjoy!

Honeycomb Pasta | www.iamafoodblog.com

Honeycomb pasta ingredients

  • rigatoni – rigatoni are straight tubes of pasta with straight cut edges. They’re pretty much common at all grocery stores, sometimes varying in size by a little bit.
  • ground beef – use lean ground beef or if you have it at your grocery store, a 50-50 mix of lean ground beef and pork.
  • onions, carrots, and celery – these three aromatics make up the classic Italian soffritto and will add so much flavor to your sauce!
  • tomato paste and tomato sauce – tomato paste is concentrated tomato flavor, sweet and intense. For the tomato sauce, go for super simple sauce where the can ingredients are just tomatoes.
  • beef stock and cream – the beef stock will boost the beef-y flavors and add umami and the cream adds a nice layer of richness.
  • cheese – we’re going for low moisture mozzarella, which, incidentally is what string cheese is! Cube it up according to what will fit into your rigatoni. Low moisture mozzarella is super stringy, melty, and essentially the perfect cheese for baked pastas.

Honeycomb Pasta | www.iamafoodblog.com


Do I need a springform pan?

A springform pan, is a pan where the sides can be removed from the base. You can make this in a regular pan, but you won’t be able to get it out of the pan. Up to you – depends if you’re making this for aesthetic or delicious reasons. Either way, you’ll want a pan that’s at least 8 inches.

Can I make this vegetarian?

You can skip out on the meat sauce and use marinara if you don’t eat meat.

Can I used jarred sauce and string cheese?

Absolutely, you can use jarred sauce if that’s your jam. As for string cheese, you’re better off buying off buying 1 lb of low moisture mozzarella and cutting it up yourself. Less plastic and you can cut the cheese according to what size your rigatoni is.

Do I have to use rigatoni?

You can use any tubular pasta, as long as you want to stack it vertically: ziti, penne, or paccheri.

What to serve with honeycomb pasta

Happy honeycombing!
xoxo steph

Honeycomb Pasta | www.iamafoodblog.com

Honeycomb Pasta Recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com

Honeycomb Pasta Recipe

Honeycomb pasta aka rigatoni pie aka pasta pie is having a moment.
Serves 8
4.79 from 19 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 20 minutes


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb ground beef lean preferred
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 1 stalk celery diced
  • 1 carrot diced
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 cup beef stock low sodium preferred
  • 1/4 cup cream
  • 1 lb rigatoni
  • 1 lb low moisture fresh mozzarella cheese

Special Equipment

  • springform pan


  • In a large pot, heat up a bit of oil and cook the ground beef, breaking up and stirring. When browned and cooked through, remove from the pan.
    browning ground beef | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Add the onion, celery, and carrot and cook, stirring until soft, but not browned.
    making soffrito | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Stir in the tomato paste, tomatoes, beef stock, cream, and ground beef. Simmer for 15-20 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
    basic meat sauce | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Heat the oven to 375°F. Cook the rigatoni 1-2 minutes shy of al dente according to the package instructions, then drain well. Arrange the pasta upright in a lightly oiled 8 inch springform pan.
    rigatoni for honeycomb pasta | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Cut 1/2 of the mozzarella into strips that will fit the rigatoni and slice the remaining half. Add the mozzarella strips into random rigatoni (or you can stuff every single one).
    stuffed rigatoni for honeycomb pasta | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Top with a generous layer of sauce and layer with the sliced mozzarella. Top with grated parmesan, if desired.
    honeycomb pasta before baking | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the cheese is melty and golden. Let rest for 5-10 minute before removing from the pan. Serve with the extra sauce on the side if desired. Enjoy!
    honeycomb pasta | www.iamafoodblog.com

Estimated Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Honeycomb Pasta Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 548 Calories from Fat 203
% Daily Value*
Fat 22.5g35%
Saturated Fat 11.3g71%
Cholesterol 92mg31%
Sodium 612mg27%
Potassium 423mg12%
Carbohydrates 48.8g16%
Fiber 3.1g13%
Sugar 4.9g5%
Protein 37.6g75%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Read More


  1. Sabrina says:

    ha, love this not an affront! its food architecture, so much fun!

  2. gil says:

    Wow looks easy and yummy, need to try!

    1. Cindy says:

      5 stars
      Yes, I’d call it pretty easy. Especially if you have some pre-made and frozen sauce. But fun and relatively easy to make!

  3. Cindy says:

    5 stars
    Just made it tonight and LOVED it!! I got Italian pasta, think it was the first time I’ve eaten imported pasta, and thought it was particularly good. Followed the recipe pretty much as written. I kind of almost thought, though, that I might make maybe 50% more sauce when I make it again, not sure, still mulling it over. But this is a winner and a keeper in our home!! Thanks you!

  4. John Gallo says:

    I am not vegan but I replace ground beef with beans. I would pipe in some ricotta mixed with parm eggs basil and parsley. The 3 cheese combo will give the pie a lasagna taste I would also use a whole a whole wheat pasta. If it all about taste why buy a springform pan just layer it in a pan…I do it all the time…best beans ever

  5. Elizabeth says:

    5 stars
    Just finished making this, anxiously waiting to cut and try it! Looks delicious, Yum!

  6. Abigail says:

    I need to give this a try. Maybe I can convince my picky toddler to try it by telling him it’s a pizza cake LOL. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Dan says:

    What do you set oven at?

    1. Stephanie says:


  8. Jami says:

    What size rigatoni do you use? The no 24? Thanks!

    1. Stephanie says:

      yup, 24!

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