Neapolitan Tagliolini Pasta Pie (Crostata)

Neapolitan Tagliolini Pasta Pie (Crostata)

Baked pasta comes in many forms here in Italy, especially in the Southern regions. This wonderful looking Neapolitan tagliolini pasta pie is pretty easy to make. It’s also a tasty alternative way to serve tagliolini or tagliatelle.

tagliolini pasta pie (crostata)

Crostata di Tagliolini

When you think about baked pasta, what comes to mind? For most people baked pasta usually means baked pasta tubes like rigatoni or tortiglioni al forno or lasagna al forno. Traditionally both are made with a meat ragu, white béchamel sauce and lots of cheese! However, there are vegetarian versions too.

tagliolini pasta pie (crostata)

These dishes are the ultimate in comfort food and much loved in Italy and abroad. But actually, Italians bake pasta in so many different ways. Some, like this tagliolini pasta pie, are quite easy to make. Others are very complicated and require a lot of stages of preparation.

ingredients for tagliolini pasta pie (crostata)

Crostata and Timballo

Pasta pies are especially popular in the south of Italy, where they are often eaten on feast days and holidays.  There are 2 main types of pasta pies, ‘crostata’ and ‘timballo’.  Of course, each of these has many versions depending on local culinary traditions and ingredients.

onions and pancetta cooking in frying pan

Pasta crostata, like this tagliolini pasta pie, are open pies made with or without a pastry base. Italians also use crostata to refer to open fruit pies or tarts made with chunks of fruit. In timballo, the pasta, sauce and other ingredients are usually encased in pastry or breadcrumbs or wrapped in a vegetable, usually eggplant. Take a look at my recipe and post for parmigiana timballo and read about the history of timballo recipes in Italy.

peas, onions and pancetta cooking in frying pan

Crostata or timballo made with pastry (usually puff pastry or shortcrust) can be pretty complicated to make. These are more likely to be served on holidays and are particularly traditional at Easter. I guess one of the most famous versions of a timballo pasta pie is the ‘timpano’ (Neapolitan dialect for timballo) from the 1996 film Big Night. Have you seen it?

cooked tagliolini, ham, pancetta, peas and onions in frying pan

Different versions of tagliolini pasta pie

This tagliolini pasta pie recipe comes from Campania and like other similar recipes has many versions. It can be made with béchamel or tomato sauce. Some people also add eggs or a meat ragu. I would say this is one of the simplest tagliolini pasta pie recipes. However, it looks beautiful, tastes great and isn’t so time-consuming!

ingredients in ring cake tin for tagliolini pasta pie (crostata)

Making this pasta pie

I used a cake ring tin but you can also use a normal spring form cake tin. This pasta pie doesn’t actually need to be turned out so you can also just cut slices from it whilst it’s still in the tin or baking dish. Using a ring cake tin meant I had to turn it twice to get the crispy part on top. This is a bit risky! But, I felt the finished version looked so nice, it was worth it!

mozzarella slices on top of pasta layer in ring cake tin

The secret is to let the tagliolini pasta pie stand for about 20 minutes before turning it out. This also allows time for the cheese to solidify slightly so you don’t get stringy mozzarella and it helps hold the pie together. These pasta pies are usually eaten tepid rather than very hot. However, you can stick the pie back in the oven for 5 minutes after slicing it, if you prefer to eat it hotter.

tagliolini pasta pie (crostata)

The next pasta crostata recipe I want to make is one with pastry! In the meantime I do hope you’ll give this one a try. I’m sure you’ll love it! And, if you make this tagliolini pasta pie recipe I’d love to hear how it turns out and if you liked it. Please leave a comment here on the blog or on The Pasta Project Facebook page.

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Buon appetito!

tagliolini pasta pie (crostata)

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5 from 12 votes
tagliolini pasta pie (crostata)
Neapolitan Tagliolini Pasta Pie
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
45 mins
Resting time
15 mins
Total Time
1 hr

A delicious alternative way to serve baked pasta that's also pretty easy to put together

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Campania, Italian, Southern Italian
Keyword: baked pasta recipe, crostata, pasta bake, pasta pie, tagliolini
Servings: 4
Author: Jacqueline De Bono
  • 320 g tagliolini egg pasta I used Giovanni Rana. You can also use tagliatelle (13oz)
  • 1 onion peeled and finely chopped
  • 300 g peas fresh or frozen (10 oz)
  • 200 g mozzarella about 2 large balls (7oz)
  • 120 g Parmesan cheese grated (4.5oz)
  • 150 g cooked ham about 3 thick slices (3.5oz)
  • 100 g pancetta cubes or lardons (3.5 oz)
  • 50 g breadcrumbs (2oz)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • butter as required
  • salt for pasta and to taste
  • black pepper to taste
  1. Drain and slice the mozzarella. Cut the cooked ham into cubes. Peel and finely chop the onion. Cut the pancetta into cubes if needed

Make the sauce
  1. Sauté the chopped onion with a knob of butter and a tbsp of olive oil until it starts to soften slightly. Add the pancetta. Cook for another minute or 2 then add the frozen peas and cook for about 10-15 minutes. Add a ladle of water to stop it drying out. Season with salt and pepper.

Cook the pasta
  1. Boil a pot of water for the pasta. Add salt once it starts to boil and bring to the boil again. Cook the pasta very al dente according to the instructions on the packet (fresh tagliolini only needs about 2 minutes!). Drain the pasta. Return it to the pan or put it in a bowl. 

  2. Add one third of the Parmesan, the cooked ham and another knob of butter and mix well to coat the pasta with butter and cheese 

Add the pasta and ham to the peas and pancetta and mix well again.
    Finish your pasta pie
    1. Grease a cake tin or baking dish with butter. Form a thick layer of the tagliolini mixture. Sprinkle it with more Parmesan. Then cover with a layer of mozzarella and some breadcrumbs. Add the remaining pasta, another sprinkling of Parmesan, more mozzarella slices and finally cover with the remaining breadcrumbs and some butter flakes.

    2. Bake the pasta in a preheated oven at 200 ° C for 25 minutes. When the tagliolini pasta pie is ready it should be nice and crispy on top. Let it stand for ten minutes and then serve. 

    3. N.B. If you want to turn the pasta pie out onto a serving dish you may need to let it sit for longer (about 20 minutes) The pie will need to be turned twice to get the crispy part on top. First time it will be upside down. Place another serving dish on top and turn again.

    Recipe Notes

    You can use tagliatelle instead of tagliolini. It's also traditional in for this recipe.

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    tagliolini pasta pie (crostata)


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    • Stephanie Simmons
      September 3, 2018 5:05 pm

      This looks incredibly delicious! I’ve never had a pasta pie but given that I’m a pie lover, I think I would enjoy this type of pie as well!

    • April
      September 3, 2018 2:15 am

      Great comfort food! I could go for this right now! I love a good pasta recipe. I used to hate peas in my pasta but that was until I tried a bloggers pasta with peas recipe and it was soooo good. Now I love peas in pasta. I can’t wait to try your recipe out.

      • Jacqui
        September 3, 2018 10:43 am

        We love pasta with peas too April. It’s very traditional in both North and South Italy! I’m sure you’ll love this dish if you make it!

    • Arjhon
      September 1, 2018 3:56 pm

      We really love your pasta recipes. Can’t wait to try this one as our main course this weekend. Thanks for sharing awesome recipes.

    • Mirlene
      September 1, 2018 1:57 pm

      You are right, these are some of the best comfort dishes. We often make pasta pies, but not like this. Your version sounds very interesting and would love to try it.

    • Stine Mari
      August 31, 2018 10:32 pm

      It looks a little similar to something my dad makes, but with macaroni. I think using tagliatelle sounds delicious too!

    • Linda
      August 31, 2018 7:06 pm

      As a pasta gal, I don’t mind having this for my birthday cake. Look at that layer of goodness and how creamy it is. Definitely something that needs to happen soon!

    • Gloria
      August 30, 2018 2:25 am

      THIS is AWESOME!! I am such a pasta lover. What a great dish to entertain with. I am printing it off right now. This will be happening soon in our house. I cannot wait to devour this…..what a great dinner it will be.

    • Michelle
      August 29, 2018 7:45 pm

      I have never made this actually so now I have something to try. I may try it with peas and ham also!

    • Amanda
      August 29, 2018 5:37 pm

      Those slices of fresh mozzarella look so good. I have a weakness for fresh mozzarella and baked pasta. Looks like I need to make this ASAP!

    • Adriana Lopez Martin
      August 29, 2018 7:30 am

      One of my best friends is Italian and she introduced me to pasta pies. Such a lovely way to repurpose pasta and to enjoy a yummy meal. Really like your combination I wish I could try your version.

    • Kelly Anthony
      August 28, 2018 7:57 pm

      I love peas in my pasta so I can’t wait to give this a try. I have never baked noodles in a cake tin so this will be a new and exciting way of cooking for me.

    • Vickie altadonna
      August 28, 2018 10:13 am

      I’m looking for your recipe for pasta wrapped in eggplant I seen it and wanted to share it to my page because I wanted to save it so I could try it but when I tried to share it it disappeared maybe I did something wrong as I not very good with this kind of stuff lol any help finding that recipe will be very appreciated thanks

      • Jacqui
        August 28, 2018 10:41 am

        Hi Vickie, I’m sorry to hear you have a problem to share the parmigiana timballo recipe. The actual recipes appear on page 2 of many of my posts. So you have to click 2 at the bottom of the first page. However, here is a link to the actual recipe. You can print it or share it to your Facebook timeline by clicking on the Facebook symbol that you can see ‘floating’ on the page. If you use Pinterest you can also share it there. Just click on any Pinterest button on the article or recipe. Please let me know if you still have problems. I’m happy to send you a link by email if you prefer. Greetings from Verona!

    • Joan DePalma
      August 23, 2018 5:06 pm

      It looks very interesting. I would have liked you to convert the grams to cups or ounces for the American user.

      • Jacqui
        August 28, 2018 10:44 am

        Dear Joan, I understand the problem with my recipes not having imperial measurements. I am researching a way to have a converter in the recipes. In the meantime I have added quantities in ounces to the ingredients for this recipe. I hope that you’ll give it a try!

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