Dana Treat – Treat Yourself

Loving Jamie Oliver

Posted March 22, 2010

Baked Pasta with Tomatoes and Mozzarella
Adapted from Jamie’s Italy
Serves 4-6

My adaptions were to use a different shape pasta and to use much less cheese than he calls for.  If you want it Jamie’s way use “4 big handfuls” of Parmesan cheese and 3 5-oz. balls of mozzarella.  He also says this dish serves 4 but people ate this all week.

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Extra virgin olive oil
1 white onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely sliced
1 or 2 dried red chilies, crumbled
3 14-oz. cans of good-quality plum tomatoes
Large handful of fresh basil leaves, plus additional for garnish
Optional:  1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 lb. orecchiette (DT: I used radiatore)
1 – 2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 8-oz. container fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced

Preheat your oven to 400°F and put a large pot of salted water on to boil.  Heat a couple of glugs of olive oil in an appropriately sized pan.  Add your onion, garlic, and chili and slowly fry for about 10 minutes on a medium to low heat until softened but without any color.  Add the canned tomatoes with a small glass of water.  Bring to a boil and simmer for around 20 minutes.  Now put them through a food processor or blender to make a loose sauce.  Tear your basil leaves into the sauce and correct the seasoning with salt, pepper, and a little red wine vinegar.

When the sauce tastes perfect, bring the water back to a boil.  Add the pasta to the water and cook until it is just shy of al dente (it will continue to cook in the oven).  Drain and toss with half of the tomato sauce and a handful of Parmesan.  Get yourself an appropriately sized baking pan or earthenware dish and rub it with a little olive oil.  Layer a little pasta in the pan, followed by some tomato sauce, a sprinkle of Parmesan, and some mozzarella slices, then repeat these layers until you have used up all the ingredients, ending with a good layer of cheese on top.  Pop the dish into the preheated oven for 15 minutes or until golden, crisp, and bubbling.  Garnish with additional basil leaves, if desired.

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