Monday, February 23, 2015

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.

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