Baked Pasta with Tomatoes & Mozzarella

by Marianna Gol

(Pasta Al Forno Con Pomodori E Mozzarella) Perfect for big gatherings. Italians couldn’t live without this simple pasta bake with beautiful mozzarella and ripe tomatoes.


SERVINGS: 10 | Source: Jamieoliver.com

INGREDIENTS

  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 white onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely sliced
  • 1-2 dried red chilies, crumbled
  • 2 kg. ripe tomatoes roasted in the oven with salt, pepper and olive oil for 40 min
  • 1 lg. handful fresh basil leaves
  • 2T. red wine vinegar
  • 1 bag of pasta
  • 200 Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 3 lg. mozzarella balls (or 300 gr. of grated mozzarella)

METHOD

  1. Preheat your oven to 200°C and put a large pot of salted water on to boil. Heat a couple of lugs of extra virgin olive oil in an appropriately sized pan. Add your onion, garlic and chili and slowly fry for about 10 minutes on a medium to low heat until softened but without any color.
  2. Skin the tomatoes into a bowl and roughly chop. Add your tomatoes to the onion and garlic, with a small glass of water. Bring to a boil and simmer for around 20 minutes. Now put them through a food processor or blender to make a loose sauce. Tear your basil leaves into the sauce and correct the seasoning with salt, pepper and a little swig of red wine vinegar.
  3. When the sauce tastes perfect, bring the water to a boil. Add the pasta to the water and cook according to the packet instructions, then drain and toss with half of the tomato sauce and a handful of Parmesan. Get yourself an appropriately sized baking pan or earthenware dish and rub it with a little olive oil. Layer a little pasta in the pan, followed by some tomato sauce, a handful of grated Parmesan and 1 sliced-up mozzarella ball, then repeat these layers until you’ve used all the ingredients, ending with a good layer of cheese on top. Pop it into the preheated oven for 15 minutes or until golden, crisp and bubbling. Italians seem happy to eat this dish at room temperature or quite cold, but I prefer to eat mine hot.

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