Tuesday, November 05, 2013


When I need comfort food, as I often do these days, pasta al forno is high on my list of possibilities. At the weekend, I decided I wanted to create a rather more seasonal pasta al forno, so I added pumpkin and a bit of orange zest. Here's the recipe:

Pasta al forno con zucca

First, discard the peel from about a quarter of a small pumpkin and slice the flesh. You'll need about 300 gr. Cook in salted water till the pieces are tender then drain and set aside.

Heat 4 tablsp olive oil in a large, wide pan and add 75 gr pancetta cubes [cubetti di pancetta dolce if you are in Italy]. Cook until browned, then add 1 chopped red onion and cook till the onion is soft. Add 500 gr mixed minced meat - I used a mixture of minced pork and beef but there is nothing to stop you using all beef if you want to. Cook, stirring, to lightly brown the meat.  Add 300 gr sliced mushrooms, the pumpkin pieces and the grated rind of 1 lovely Sicilian orange.  Add a dollop [or dessertspoon] of 'strattu, 200 gr passata and 200 ml water. Season, stir, turn the heat down and simmer for about 40 mins., coming back to stir from time to time. This is your ragù.

Pre-heat the oven to 160 C.

Meanwhile, cook 400 gr rigatoni or tortiglioni for the time indicated on the pack. Drain the pasta and wait for the ragù.

Oil a large ceramic or Pyrex-style roasting dish and add a layer of pasta, a layer of ragù, a layer of 125 gr crumbled ricotta, another layer of pasta, another 125 gr ricotta and finish with a layer of ragù. Sprinkle a handful of fresh breadcrumbs [pane grattugiato] over the top, along with about 1 tablesp of grated Grana Padano, Parmesan or Ragusano cheese. Cook in the oven for 15 mins.

This turned out to be one of the nicest pasta al forno dishes I have ever made so buon appetito!

It will serve at least 4 people generously.


Whispering Walls said...

That will cheer you up WL

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Yes, it always cheers me up when I invent a new recipe that works, WW! Thank you.

Liz Hinds said...

Ooh, that sounds lovely. Especially as I'm having baked potato and baked beans for dinner tonight! (Although I do love both.)

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Thanks, Lizx. Oh, I'd love a baked potato with baked beans!


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