Layers of ragù, rigatoni, ham, mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses make pasta al forno Siciliana a truly flavourful Italian dish.
Pasta al Forno Siciliana
- Preparation time: About 45 minutes
- Cooking time: 1 hour on hob, 25 minutes in oven
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 900 g (2 lb) minced/ground beef
- 1 tbsp fresh oregano, chopped
- 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
- 1 bay leaf
- 240 ml (8 fl oz) red wine (1 cup)
- 540 ml (18 fl oz) passata (2¼ cups)
- 225 g (8 oz) frozen peas (1½ cups)
- 450 g (1 lb) rigatoni pasta (7½ cups)
- 170 g (6 oz) sliced ham, cut into strips (about 6 slices)
- 225 g (8 oz) mozzarella cheese, chopped
- 4 tbsp Parmesan cheese, grated, plus extra to serve
- A green salad or caesar salad
- You will also need a deep ovenproof dish measuring 22 x 30.5 cm (8½ x 12 ins) and 6.5 cm (2½ ins) deep.
- Heat the oil in a large pan, add the onions and cook over a low heat, stirring frequently, until golden, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for a further minute.
- Now turn up the heat to moderate, add the meat and brown, stirring often to break up any lumps, about 5 minutes.
- Stir in the oregano, thyme, wine, and plenty of seasoning. Continue to cook until the wine has been absorbed, about 5 minutes.
- Next, stir in the passata, 240 ml (8 fl oz) (1 cup) water, and add the bay leaf. Cover the pan and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. At the end of the cooking time the consistency should be that of a loose ragù. Add a little more water if it is getting too thick.
- Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F)( gas 5).
- 15 minutes before the ragù has finished cooking, start cooking the pasta. Add the pasta to a large pan of boiling salted water and let it cook for 2 minutes less than the recommended time on the packet. Drain.
- Add the peas to the ragù and then remove the pan from the heat. Discard the bay leaf.
- Now to layer the dish. Spoon a thin layer of the ragù over the base of the ovenproof dish. Add half the pasta and then spoon over half the remaining ragù. Top with all the ham. Now scatter over half the mozzarella plus 2 tbsp of the Parmesan. Add the rest of the pasta then spoon over the rest of the ragù. Finally scatter over the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan.
- Cover the dish with foil and bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake for a further 10 minutes until piping hot and golden.
- Serve with extra Parmesan sprinkled on the top and a salad.
Updated: October 1, 2018