Thursday, November 29, 2007

Baked pasta with tomatoes and mozzarella

Baked pasta with tomatoes and mozzarella
I think this kind of recipe is like a comfort food for me, soft and sticky cheese is easy to fall in love with. I like mozzarella cheese very much and reading this recipe; it’s a lot of cheese in it (so, if you like cheese, this can be your answer). This recipe came from ............. this is Italian school lunch (oh, I would like to have it every lunch too), for me, I had it in front of the TV. Top of the pasta is covered with a lot of cheese and while it’s still warm, it’s delicious.
Baked pasta with tomatoes and mozzarella
Serve 4

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

extra virgin olive oil
white onion, peeled and finely chopped
cloves of garlic, peeled and finely sliced
1 or 2
dried red chilies, crumbled
ripe tomatoes or 3 x 400g tins of good-quality plum tomatoes

a large handful of fresh basil leaves

optional: 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
dried orecchiette (pasta in the shape of ears)
big handfuls of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
3 x l50g
balls of mozzarella

Preheat oven to 200°C/400°F/gas 6
To an appropriately sized pan add a couple of glugs of good extra virgin olive oil, onion, garlic and chilies and slowly fry for about 10 minutes on a medium to low heat until softened but without any color. Put a large pot of salted water on to boil.
If using fresh tomatoes, remove the core with the tip of a small knife, plunge them into the boiling water for about 40 seconds until their skin starts to come away, then remove with a slotted spoon or sieve and remove the pan from the heat. Put the tomatoes into a bowl and run cold water over them, then slide the skins off squeeze out the pips and roughly chop. Add your fresh or tinned tomatoes to the onion and garlic, with a small glass of water. Bring to the boil and simmer for around 20 minutes. Now put them through a food processor or liquidizer to make a loose sauce. Tear your basil leaves into the sauce and correct the seasoning with salt, pepper and a little swig of red wine vinegar (if using). And this is very importance because the main flavor comes from here.
When the liquidized sauce tastes perfect, bring the water back to the boil. Add the orecchiette to the water and cook according to the packet instructions, then drain and toss with half of the tomato sauce and a handful of Parmesan. Get yourself an appropriately sized baking tray, pan or earthenware dish and rub it with a little olive oil. Layer a little pasta in the tray, followed by some tomato sauce, a handful of grated Parmesan and 1 sliced-up mozzarella ball, then repeat these layers until you’ve used all the ingredients, ending with a good layer of cheese on top. Pop it into the preheated oven for 15 minutes or until golden, crisp and bubbling.

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