When we had an Italian exchange student stay with us years ago and I asked her what she wanted for dinner, she said jokingly, “Pasta al Forno.” When I said fine and cooked it for her, she was elated – she did not think she would find it outside of Italy. And, my recipe lived up to expectations too.
I tend to play with the concept a little for the fun of it. This version is with spinach and a drizzle of Pecorino sauce in addition to the normal mozeralla.
Recipe: Pasta al Forno with Spinach
Summary: A tradditional backed Italian pasta dish with tomato, spinach and mozerella
- 2 tins plum tomatoes
- 3 tbs tomato puree
- 1 onion
- 4 cloves garlic
- olive oil
- handful of basil
- 2 big handfuls of baby lead spinach
- 3 tbs Pecorino cheese
- 200ml milk
- 2 tbs flour
- 25 gms butter
- 2 small bags of good mozerella
- Large pasta shapes of your choice
- Bring a large pan of water to the boil for your pasta
- Finely chop the onion and garlic and gently fry in olive oil for about ten minutes till soft.
- Add the tins of tomato and the tomato puree and a little water. Simmer till it reduces slightly and the tomatoes are broken up.
- Season to taste
- Put your past on to cook
- Make a thick cheese sauce by melting the butter, stirring in the flour and slowly adding the milk.
- Then add the grated Pecorino cheese.
- To your tomato sauce add basic, chopped and the spinach. Stir in until the spinach wilts completely.
- Heat up an oven to a moderate heat.
- In a baking dish, layer the tomato sauce and the pasta, scattering chunks of mozerella between the pasta and adding the odd little drizzles of the cheese sauce. Make it as random as possible so you get little pockets of flavour.
- Put the dish in the oven and cook for about 15 minutes till the mozerella has cooked and the sauce is bubbling up
Serve this hot or warm, as is your preference! Some nice fresh, rough bread is nice with this, as well as some salad drizzled with olive oil
Preparation time: 20 minute(s)
Cooking time: 15 minute(s)