Another great recipe from the latest book by Giada De Laurentiis. I was skeptical of the technique but it worked really well. Most baked pastas have you parboil the pasta about 3/4 of the way and then add it to the pan, cover with sauce and finish baking. In this recipe, the pasta is put into the heated sauce, cooked for a moment or so and then added to the pan and baked. The pasta gets cooked in the oven.
This is really good. My son, who hates baked pastas normally, loved this. He ate 2 servings. What he hates about normal baked pasta is the crunchy top. This prevents the crunch by putting a layer of tomatoes on top so the tomatoes cook and get soft but the pasta stays soft. Ingenious.
Pasta alla formiana
Cooking spray, for baking pan
1-28 oz can crushed tomatoes, with juice
1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth (I used vegetable broth)
1 clove garlic, minced
8 oz mezze penne (a smaller sized penne)
1/3 cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling
2 tbsp dried oregano
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
5 very ripe tomatoes, thinly sliced
Place an oven rack in the upper third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Spray an 8 inch square glass baking pan with cooking spray (I used an 8 inch brownie pan that was not glass and it worked just fine.)
In a food processor, blend together the crushed tomatoes with their juices, chicken broth and garlic. Pour into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over MED-HIGH heat. Stir in pasta, olive oil, oregano, salt and pepper.
While sauce is heating, line bottom and sides of baking dish with half to two-thirds of the tomato slices. Pour the pasta mixture into the pan and spread evenly. Arrange the remaining tomato slices in an overlapping layer on top of the pasta, making sure the mixture is completely covered. Drizzle with a little olive oil. Sprinkle with a touch of salt.
Put the baking dish on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes, until the tomatoes are slightly crispy and the pasta is cooked. Cool for 5 minutes and serve.
I used 2 tbsp dried oregano and 2 tsp of an Italian seasoning that does not have oregano in it.
Also, I didn’t read the recipe correctly and only lined the bottom of the pan with the tomatoes, not up the sides. It worked out just fine.
Make sure to let this sit for a little while after it is cooked so that you are able to cut this into quarters and serve it. If you don’t wait long enough, the slices will fall apart as you are trying to serve. It is similar to lasagna in that way.
Yield: 4 servings
Source: Weeknights with Giada
Posted by RisaG 6/2/12