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Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Anelletti Al Forno. Oven Baked Pasta.

Anelletti Al Forno (Ring-shaped Pasta With Meat Sauce, Peas And Cheese) – Sicilia

1. Make Soffritto/odori/battuto (onions, celery, and carrots in a 1:1:1 ratio)
gently sauteed in olive oil:
- 1 onions finely chopped
- 1 carrot finely chopped
- 1 stalk celery finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2. Make the Ragu
add to Soffritto:
- 250 grams Ground meat (ground veal or a mix of minced veal and pork)
- half glass (1/2 cup) red wine (or marsala)
- 250 mls tomato sauce (passata)
- 1 bay leaf
- salt
- chili pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 200 grams peas
let the Ragu cook for 20 mins at medium heath.

3. Boil the pasta (I use Fusilli Short) in salted water to a very al dente consistency, drain.
Mix cooked pasta with the ragù until coated and well-combined.
If the mixture is a bit dry or sticky, add some liquid (milk or broth or just some water).
Mix generously with grated Parmigiano/cheddar/pecorino cheese.
- 150 gr grams anelletti/“little rings” pasta (or risoni pasta - also Orzo - “big rice"- a form of short-cut pasta, shaped like a large grain of rice, OR Stelline Pasta - any soup pasta.)
- 100 grams Sharp provolone cheese tastes very similar to cheddar or parmesean.

4. Assemble the Pasta:
Cover generously the bottom of a baking dish with olive oil and breadcrumbs,
line pan with slices of fried eggplant,
spread over the top half the quantity of ragù with pasta,
place on top some fontina cheese (gruyere, gouda cheeses may be substituted for fontina cheese) or...mozzarella,
spread the rest of the pasta over the top and press it down firmly.
top with the remaining breadcrumbs!
- 1 eggplant, fried
- 15 grams breadcrumbs

Bake in a pre-heated oven at 190°C-200°C for 30-45 minutes, or until it is golden brown.

Serve a slice of Anelletti al forno and enjoy!
Tip: use a kitchen scissors to cut through the top layer of cheese and pasta, and then use a spatula or a knife to cut through to the bottom or the pan.
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OR Make the Ragu differently:
Heat 4-6 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pot and sautèe the celery, onion and carrot previously diced;
sweat over medium heat until the vegetables are translucent and soft but not browned, about 10 to 15 minutes.
Add minced beef over a high heat, stirring to keep the meat from sticking together until browned.
Add the wine and when it has evaporated, add salt and pepper, then the tomato paste and passata and bay leaves.
Mix well, put a lid on and let it simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

And the video of Anelletti Al Forno from:
- BBC iPlayer - Rick Stein's Long Weekends - 10. Palermo: OR
- BBC - Rick Stein's Long Weekends: Series 1 - Palermo - Animmex: watch from 22:45!

There are tens of hundreds of baked pasta recipes across Italy!
Another recipes of Pasta al forno:
- Pasta al forno (Baked Pasta) | Memorie di Angelina: with short, dried pasta such as penne or rigatoni and bechamel sauce.
There are many versions of pasta al forno, many of which are vegetarian.
A typical southern baked pasta dish is zitoni al forno con le polpettine, known among Italian-Americans as Baked Ziti.
But to mind, this version will always be the pasta al forno, the one to master first before trying anything else.

About: Pasta al forno (Sicilian baked pasta).
One of the typical dishes of the Sicilian tradition, also called “pasta al forno” (literally, pasta in the oven), is prepared with “anelletti”, special shape of paste in a ring-like form, that was used to be prepared on Sundays and holidays.
The tradition says that the first such Timballi/Timballo were introduced by Arabs and soon become widespread all over the island for their easiness of transportation.
In addition to the classic recipe with a meat and peas ragout, Sicilian usually add diced hard eggs, fried aubergine, cheese and diced ham.
It is similar to a casserole and is sometimes referred to in English as a pie or savory cake.
Anna Del Conte wrote that Béchamel is the most consistently used ingredient in timballos.

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