Skip to main content

Pasta al Forno

I know, I know, I'm not a huge Rachel Ray fan either - a little bit too much of processed food for me. But every once it a while I guess you are bound to come up with a decent recipe. She has definitely done that with Pasta al Forno. This is, of course, done in 30 minutes, but it definitely has the flavor of something that is cooked longer. It is also a great way to heat up the house - since the oven is set to 500. I love making this on a cold weeknight - which we've had quite a few of them lately.

Pasta al Forno (Adapted from Comfort Food)

1 lb of ziti or penne
2 T olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 oz prosciutto, chopped
3 clove garlic, chopped
1 28 oz can of tomatoes
1/2 c heavy cream
1 t dried basil
1/2 t dried oregano
2 pinches of cinnamon
1/3 c Parmesan cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 500. Grease casserole dish (I prefer butter for this recipe). Boil water for pasta. While waiting for water to boil and pasta to cook, place onion and olive oil in skillet. Add prosciutto. Saute until onions are softened and starting to brown. Add garlic and saute until fragrant. Add tomatoes and break up tomatoes with the back of a spoon* When tomatoes start to bubble, add heavy cream and seasonings. Add cooked pasta to the pan and stir to combine. Add salt and pepper. Transfer to casserole dish.
Sprinkle with Parmesan and bake in oven for 10 minutes or until a few of the top pieces of pasta crisp.

I've made this without the prosciutto or used bacon instead and it comes out equally delicious. I've also used fresh basil and oregano but I don't always have them in the winter. I tend to usually make this during the cold months since you have the oven screaming hot - doesn't really lend it to a summer dish. She uses a smaller can of tomatoes but I like it better with more tomatoes. I know the cinnamon sounds a little strange in this dish but it does add a nice flavor - maybe that is what makes it seems like comfort food?

*I prefer buying canned whole tomatoes. I feel the flavor is better. The diced, or crushed tomatoes (I think) are usually the poorer quality - hence the crushing or dicing. If you just find it easier to buy them go ahead.


Popular posts from this blog

Cinnamon Star Bread

I was very perplexed by this recipe. I could not figure out by the directions how it got into this shape. I understood the twisting part but then was at a loss. The website didn't have a video or pictures - was I just being dense? Well once I cut the dough into the 16 pieces and twisted - DUH - it was a little clearer. I decided to include pictures for those of you that need a visual.

Cinnamon Star Bread (Adapted from King Arthur Flour)

3/4 c warm milk (100-110 degrees)
2T sugar
2 t yeast
4T butter
2 c flour
1 t salt
1/3 c instant mashed potato flakes*
1 t vanilla

1 lg egg, beaten
1/3 c sugar
2T cinnamon

Combine milk, sugar, and yeast in a small measuring cup. Mix well and set aside. Place butter, flour, salt, instant mashed potatoes and vanilla in a large bowl. After yeast is bubbly add to dry ingredients. Mix with dough hook until dough is smooth and soft. (Or mix by hand and then knead by hand until smooth and soft). Place in a greased bowl and let sit for 1 hour or un…

Burnt Cinnamon Simple Syrup

The NY Times Magazine section did a piece on cocktails about two weeks ago and one was calling me-Rhum Agricole Daiquiri. What attracted me here (well besides the cocktail aspect) was the Burnt Cinnamon Simple Syrup. It was easy enough to make, as are most simple syrups, but it was the potential uses.  I started thinking not only daiquiris but why not with Applejack? Apples, burnt cinnamon sounds like a winner to me. Or how about a nice hot cider, with a little rum, and the simple syrup (Guess I'll have to wait until the fall for the cider). On the non-alcohol side-why not use it to moisten a sponge cake - wouldn't that give it an interesting flavor? Or what about a burnt cinnamon ice cream?

Now first for the burning of the cinnamon - it felt a little like I was doing a cleanse to ward off evil spirits. I think that is usually done with sage but if cinnamon works too - so be it. The recipe recommended using a small creme brulee torch to burn the cinnamon sticks - like you do. …

It's Better With Butter

Why would you want to make your own butter? Because it tastes better! And it's easy. All you need it heavy cream, salt, and a mixer-although you can get away without using the mixer. If you are using a mixer, you will need to cover it with plastic wrap, unless you're really into cleaning up splatter. Pour heavy cream into your mixer. It doesn't have to be fresh. It can be close to its expiration date. This time I used 3 cups because I had an open container and an unopened one.
You just whip it for about 10-15 minutes on high. It first looks like whipped cream, then starts to deflate a bit, then starts to get a yellowish hue, until finally you hear a clunk clunk noise and you know you have separated the butter from the buttermilk (boy was that a run on sentence or what?). By this time the plastic wrap is so covered in splatter you can't see into the bowl any longer.

From 3 cups of cream you end up with about 1 1/2 cups of buttermilk. Strain the butt…