This recipe is a pain. I will confess to this right up front. It makes for a lot of dirty dishes. It seems fussy. It matters not ... it is one of my favorites.
You see, this is a completely wonderful dish to serve to company or to take to a friend with a new baby. Put it in a heart-shaped springform pan, and you have a Valentine's Day to remember.
It comes from a grocery store checkout cookbooklet I bought in the early 90s that is all pies. The cover is missing. No decent information on the publisher at all. I could make guesses based on the products pimped in it ... but it is irrelevant, really. It isn't retro, but this recipe makes people swoon.
Makes 6 to 8 servings (I feel like it makes a bit more than that, but I tend to serve with sides)
1/4 (1 lb package) Creamette Vermicelli (I tend to use about 1/2 of the package, and you can use whatever brand you like)
1/3 cup finely chopped onion
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil
1 cup grated fresh Romano cheese (Yes, I tend to use Parmesan)
1 15 or 16 oz container ricotta cheese
1 10 oz package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained. (I mean it, WELL DRAINED. Press it once it is thawed.)
1/2 tsp salt
1 26 oz jar Classico Di Sicilia Ripe Olives and Mushrooms Pasta Sauce (or any chunky pasta sauce with olive and mushrooms)
Preheat oven to 350. Break vermicelli into thirds; cook according to package directions. Drain. Meanwhile, in large skillet, cook onion and garlic in oil until tender; remove from heat. Add cooked vermicelli, 1/2 cup Romano cheese and 1 egg; mix well. Press into well-greased 9-inch springform pan. Combine 2 egg yolks, ricotta, spinach, salt and remaining 1/2 cup Romano cheese. Spread over pasta layer. In small mixer bowl, beat 2 egg whites until stiff but not dry; fold into 1 1/2 cups pasta sauce. Pour over spinach mixture. Bake 50 to 60 minutes or until set; let stand 10 minutes. Heat remaining pasta sauce. Serve with pie. Garnish as desired. Refrigerate leftovers. This reheats well.
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