Saturday, November 9, 2013

Pasta al forno

Italian comfort food.
The other night, the November days quickly growing shorter, seemed like a good time to try pasta al forno, Italian comfort food. Recipes vary. Here's one from David Rocco, in case you want something with formal quantities:

1 lb rigatoni pasta (450g)
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (60ml)
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 large eggplant, cubed
15 infornate olives, pitted and chopped
10 large sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
2 dried chili pepper, crushed (optional)
1 jar of tomato puree (750ml)
0.8lb freshly grated mozzarella (400g)
smoked scamorza cheese, as much as desired, roughly chopped
freshly grated parmigiano cheese for sprinklingsalt to taste

To start your Pasta al Forno: Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
While the rigatoni cooks in salted boiling water, prepare the sauce. In a saucepan heat up olive oil and sautí garlic, eggplant, olives, sun-dried tomatoes and chili peppers for a few minutes. Add tomato puree and salt. Let cook for approximately 10 minutes on medium heat.
Drain rigatoni, add to the saucepan, sprinkle with some parmigiano and cook for another 30 seconds.
Place half the rigatoni in a baking dish, adding a layer of half of the mozzarella, half of the scamorza and another sprinkle of parmigiano cheese over the pasta. Add the remaining rigatoni, and follow with a final layer of all the cheeses. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until golden brown. Per 4 persone.

Or, you could skip the eggplant, garlic and olives, and use your home-made tomato sauce made from local pomodoro, and substitute ricotta for the mozzarella, and a little of whatever local cheese you have for the top. You can also use whatever pasta you have in the cupboard, if there's no rigatoni about.Oh, and make the sauce with a little meat, if you like. And some hard boiled eggs. Hmm...I wonder if that David Rocco guy knows il vero pasta al forno? Ah - further investigation reveals that pasta al forno with eggplant is more each his own...

For the variety we made, just follow these photos:  buon apetito!

A good onion. A little beef.
Add a little pork sausage if you like.
Onions softened, olive oil added, meat browned. Now add tomato sauce.
Ingredients: rigatoni, ricotto, a little provelone.
Add some sale grosso to the simmering sauce. 45 mins.
Boil your pasta.
Draining pasta, adding a little olive oil.
Sauce in the baking dish.
Pasta on the sauce.
Layer of sliced ricotta.
A few hard-boiled eggs if you like.
Another layer of sauce.
Another layer of pasta - lasagne sheets this time.
More sauce on top.
Slices of provelone cheese.
Ready for 15 mins in the oven.
...with some vital accompaniments.

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