One of the regular meals I make at our place is Pasta al Forno which translates as pasta in the oven. I first tasted it at my husband’s parents home and enjoyed the crunch of the pasta at the top and the softness of the inside. It is a great way to use up any left over Bolognese sauce and pasta you might have in the fridge. Whenever I make Bolognese sauce I make more than I need and freeze the rest. It is very handy to pull out of the freezer on a busy day and use in Lasagne, or Pasta al Forno.
The Italians cook meals that are like themselves – generous, welcoming and to be enjoyed by many. There is no such thing as a small Italian meal. Everyone enjoys Italian food for these reasons. It is as if you can feel the love that goes into making their meals.
1 pkt of penne or you can use spaghetti
200gm parmesan cheese
For Meat sauce
500gm beef mince
3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1/2 stick celery, finely chopped
3 carrots finely diced
1 white onion, diced
1/2 bunch basil leaves
1/2 bunch of parsley
1 cup red wine
1 cup of beef stock
1 bottle of tomato passata
salt and pepper
Cook the pasta as per packet instructions, strain the pasta and drizzle with a little olive oil to stop it from sticking.
Pour the pasta back into the saucepan and mix through the meat sauce a little at a time. When thoroughly mixed add the cheese. Add most of it but save a little for the top. If you like it cheesier add even more. Pour the mixture into a large ovenproof dish. Sprinkle the rest of the cheese over the top of the pasta bake. Allow it to bake in the oven at 180C until the top of the pasta bake is crisp and golden.
In a frying pan with some olive oil, sauté the onion and garlic, then add the diced vegetables and the beef mince making sure it doesn’t clump together. Add half the Basil and Parsley. When browned add the bottle of passata, stock and red wine. Leave to simmer for at least an hour.