Pasta al Forno

Sunday lunches are a big affair where I come from, it’s a time for the whole family to get together and spend hours enjoying the  most delicious and homely food, cooked by mums and grannies! As a child I remember waking up at the smell of delicious beef ragout simmering away, sweet raisins and pine  nuts meatballs and tangy pan-fried aubergines all in preparation for the solemn lunch!

Since moving to London my friends have become my family and I occasionally enjoy keeping up the tradition of Sunday lunch; so last Sunday I decided to gather few of them at my place and cooked a Sunday’s classic from Naples: Pasta al Forno using my mum, Maria, recipe.

Ingredients

2 shallots (grated)

1 clove of garlic (peeled)

½ cup Extra virgin olive oil

700gr of organic minced beef (only 10% fat)

1 glass of red wine

1 handful of frozen peas

2 bottles of Cirio “Passata Rustica”

1 box of Cirio “Passata”

700gr Pasta DeCecco (Rigatoni or Tortiglioni)

250g ricotta

400gr Buffalo scamorza (diced)

1 cup of grated Parmiggiano Reggiano

Salt and pepper

Preparation

In a stew pot fry the garlic and the grated shallots with the olive oil until golden. Remove the garlic, add the mince meat, season with salt and pepper and let it cook until the mince meat is brown.

Add the glass of wine and let it simmer until all the wine evaporates, the smell will simply sublime!

Once  the wine evaporates add the Passata Rustica, one bottle at the time, and the plain passata. The n fill about ½ of each the two empty bottle with water, shake it and add to the tomato and meat mixture, add salt, stir, cover and let it cook on a very low flame for about 1 hour, stirring every now and then.

When the meat ragout is almost ready cook the pasta. Fill a large pot with water and put it on a high flame. Once the water starts boiling add the pasta, one handful of salt and let it cook, tasting it every now and then, until it is “al dente”.

Pasta is “al dente” when you bite the pasta and you can still see a very fine line of white hard pasta.

Drain the pasta and put it back in the pot. Add the ricotta and 3 ladles of meat ragout and give it a good mix.

In a large (serving) baking tray spread about 2/3 ladles of meat ragout over the bottom of the baking tray, then make one layer of pasta, scatter half of the scamorza and the parmiggiano reggiano over the pasta and cover with half of the meat  ragout.

Make another layer of pasta, scatter the remaining scamorza and half of the remaining parmiggiano reggiano. Pour the remaining meat ragout all over and scatter the remaining of the parmiggiano reggiano.

Place the pasta in a pre-heated oven, cook it for about 30 minute at 180C Fan and then let it rest in the oven for 10 minutes before serving.

 

My pasta al forno fed 7 people and they all had double portion…just in case you  are wondering how many people you can serve!

This recipe may seem  is a bit laborious, but IT IS NOT !! It is definitely worth the time and it is a winner with friends and family of all age, as well as an amazing comfort food!

Enjoy it with a  glass of rich red wine and Buona Domenica!!!!

If you want to make this recipe and share it on your social media please tag me using @prepandproperrecipes and using the tag #prepandproperrecipes

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