- Salt, for pasta water
- 1/3 pound rigatoni (about 40 pieces)
- 4 ounces easy melting American Cheese (recommended: Velveeta)
- 1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten with 2 teaspoons water, for egg wash
- 2 cups vegetable oil
- 20 cherry tomatoes, halved
- Special equipment: frilly toothpicks
Fill a saucepan halfway with water and place over high heat. Bring to a boil and salt the water liberally. Add the rigatoni and cook 9 to 11 minutes, until al dente. Drain, rinse well under cold water and set aside.
Cut the block of cheese into 1/2-inch slices and cut each slice into 4 equal pieces lengthwise. Cut each piece in half. You should have 40 pieces. Slide 1 piece of the cheese into each rigatoni (the size should be near perfect.)
Pour the bread crumbs, Parmesan, and parsley into a small bowl and mix well. Working in small batches, put the stuffed rigatoni into the egg wash first, then roll in the bread crumb mixture. Place in a sealable container (they can be stacked on top of each other). Place in the freezer for at least 2 hours and up to 2 weeks.
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F.
Working in batches of 6 to 8 and using a slotted spoon, carefully drop the rigatoni into the oil. Fry for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, until the bread crumbs are a golden brown. Remove to a paper towel lined plate. Repeat until all of the rigatoni have been fried. Keep warm in the preheated oven.
Cook's Note: Since these are time consuming and since they freeze well, it's worth making a larger batch than needed and storing them.