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Pasta Al Forno

Delicious baked pasta recipe in a hearty meat sauce with mozzarella and pecorino cheese.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 811kcal
Author James

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 3 28 ounce can plum tomatoes
  • 1 6 ounce can tomato paste
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 pound rigatoni
  • 1 pound mozzarella
  • 3/4 cup pecorino

Instructions

  • Grate pecorino cheese and cube the block mozzarella.  Chop onion and mince garlic.  Crush the plum tomatoes by hand or pulse blend for 1-2 seconds.
  • In a large sauce pan on medium heat saute onions for 5 minutes in 1/4 cup olive oil or until translucent.  Add the garlic and saute for 2 minutes more. 
  • Add ground beef and pork to pot and brown for 10-15 minutes until cooked through.  Break up any large pieces with wooden spoon.  Next, add the tomato paste and cook for 5 minutes more, mixing it all together. 
  • Add the 1/2 cup of wine and cook for 5 more minutes.  Add crushed plum tomatoes to pot and stir it all together.  Once sauce starts bubbling turn heat to low and simmer for 30 plus minutes, the longer the better.  Leave the pot partially covered while cooking and stir every 15 minutes to avoid sticking.
  • After the sauce has been simmering for a while boil pasta to "al dente" in salted (2 Tbsp kosher salt per gallon) water.  Taste test the sauce and make any changes to salt or pepper if needed.  Place 3 cups of the sauce in a large bowl with the cooked pasta and mix well. 
  • Lightly oil a large baking dish and place a ladle of sauce on the bottom.  Layer some of the pasta on top.  Add half the cubed mozzarella and 1/4 cup of the pecorino all over.  
  • Repeat with more pasta, a little bit of sauce, the remaining mozzarella and another 1/4 of pecorino.  Bake in a 375f oven for 30 minutes or until bubbly.  Serve with Italian bread, extra sauce, and grated pecorino. Enjoy!

Notes

  • Makes 4 large or 6 good size servings.
  • Make sure to taste test the sauce and adjust if necessary.  Salt was kept down because of the added pecorino cheese.
  • If the tray looks a little dry before baking, add another ladle of sauce.  Nothing has to be exact in this dish!
  • There will be a lot of sauce left over.  Around 4 cups most likely depending on simmering time.  Serve with crusty bread for dipping and ladle it over the plated dishes for anyone who likes more sauce.  
  • The remaining sauce can be frozen for 4-6 months.

Nutrition

Calories: 811kcal | Carbohydrates: 84.5g | Protein: 56.2g | Fat: 26.7g | Cholesterol: 190mg | Sodium: 600mg