I hate to have to pick a favorite cuisine – there are so many beautiful kinds of things to eat that its unbearable, almost cruel, to pick just ONE. But I can’t help but lean towards Italian more so than others, at times. I love the reckless use of tomato and fresh herbs and I love to pieces, the shameless use of cheese. Its because of this perfect synchronization that makes sure I eat some kind of pasta once a week at least.
I have little to say about this pasta dish in a silent appreciation sort of way – I’m grateful that this dish can literally be put together in 15 minutes, I’m grateful it doesn’t require a trip to the store and I’m grateful that it doesn’t need a tiresome list of expensive ingredients to make it seem authentic. It can be created right out of the pantry – quick, easy and light – the perfect combination to soothe – something only carbs can provide.
Pasta Al Forno
Adapted from: Annie’s Eats
Yields: One 9×3 Pyrex Dish or serves 4
1x400g can of whole tomatoes, in their juice (i.e. don’t strain it)
2 large tomatoes, quartered
3 – 4 cloves of garlic, minced
2x15ml tbs of olive oil
1x5ml tsp of dried (or fresh) Oregano
A handful of basil leaves, roughly torn up
Salt and white pepper powder, to taste
6 slices of Kraft Cheese Slices (or grated mozzarella)
4 – 5 tbs of Parmesan cheese
500g of pasta
- In a medium saucepan or stockpot, heat olive oil and add garlic. Saute till fragrant and lightly golden.
- Next, add the canned tomatoes and fresh tomatoes. Stir to combine. In the can of tomatoes, add some water (about 1/4th of the way through), swill it around and pour into the saucepan. Add Oregano, basil and salt and pepper. Let the sauce thicken, stirring every now and then for about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, boil the pasta till al dente, reserving some pasta water to thicken the sauce and pre-heat the oven to 200 deg C.
After the pasta is cooked, add it to the sauce and stir to evenly coat the pasta. Take it off the heat and pour half the pasta into the baking dish. Arrange the cheese slices or grated cheese and sprinkle 2 – 3 tbs of parmesan over it. Repeat the same for the top and final layer. Bake for 15 minutes or until the cheese bubbles. Serve hot!
Photo update: 18th February 2013