Pasta al Forno by Liliana Battle

Author: Liliana Battle
16 ingredients20 prep30 cook4-6 servings
Pasta al Forno (pasta from the oven) is an Italian staple that can be made in an infinite amount of ways. It is a perfect meal to share with family or friends, plonked down in the centre of the table for everyone to dig in.

This meal symbolises what Italian food is all about, simple, full of flavour, versatile, economical and easy to make to feed a huge gathering if need be. It’s just like a big dish of lasagne, but much easier. It is a slap-dash, last minute kind of meal that can be whipped up with whatever you’ve got lurking in the fridge, or can be made in advance and popped in the oven 30 minutes before you’re ready to eat. There is no one recipe, any cooked vegetables, preserves, cured meats or cheese will work (even chopped up boiled eggs go well here) just make sure to use plenty of good tomato sauce and a generous layer of cheese on top.

Every Italian household has their version, this is my favourite. Don’t get too caught up on the measurements here, a bit more of this, a little les of that will be fine. Add more sauce if you feel it needs it, really, like most Italian recipes, what you need will depend on the type of pasta you use and what you’ve got. Just use your ‘Italian Mama’ instinct
Olive oil
1 onion, peeled and diced
1 red capsicum, seeded and diced
300g pancetta or streaky bacon, finely chopped
400g fresh Italian sausages, casings removed
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely sliced
2 tbsp dried oregano
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp crushed fennel seeds
500g short pasta such as Rigatoni or Penne
250g chopped cured meat such as pepperoni, mortadella, salami, ham
750ml tomato pasta sauce, either home-made or store bought
1 cup parmesan cheese, finely grated
2 cups mozzarella or cheddar cheese, grated

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