…. or baked pasta with tomatoes and mozzarella, but hey – which sounds better? The Italian way of course!
I have 3 words to describe this dish - cheep, cheerful, comforting! It’s my go to, good stuff meal, when I don’t quite have three hours to make Grandma’s ragu, or a batch of chicken stock on hand for risotto.
All you need is a quick arrabbiata sauce, pasta, and good quality cheeses, to make this delicious dish. The thing to remember with this pasta bake - a little goes a long way. It’s perfect for a large crowd and don’t expect any leftovers!!
400g orecchietti pasta
2 punnets cherry tomatoes
2x tins diced tomatoes
1 white onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, finely diced
2 dried chillies, crumbled
1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
2 x 300g mozzarella balls, sliced into 0.5 cm thick circles
4 big handfuls freshly grated Parmesan cheese
½ bunch basil leaves
Preheat the oven to 160˚C fan-forced. Line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper, prick each cherry tomato and place them in the baking tray. Toss with 1 tbsp. olive oil, pinch salt and pepper. Place in the oven and cook for 1 hour. Remove and set aside. Turn the oven to 200˚C fan-forced.
To make the pasta sauce heat a few lugs of olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the garlic, chillies, onion and gently fry on a medium heat for 10 minutes or until softened but not browned. Add both tins of diced tomatoes and half a tin of water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes. Use a hand blender or processer to blitz the sauce to a smooth consistency. Season with red wine vinegar, salt and pepper. Set aside.
Heat a large saucepan of salted water to the boil. Cook the orecchietti according to the packets instructions and drain. Add half the pasta sauce to the cooked pasta along with 1 big handful of grated Parmesan and mix until combined. Layer one third of pasta into the baking tray, top with one third of roasted cherry tomatoes, 1 third of mozzarella slices, one handful of grated parmesan and one third of basil leaves. Repeat 2 more times until you’ve used all the ingredients.
Place it in the preheated oven for 20 minutes or until golden.