Put this dish rich in flavour on the table and watch it disappear
THIS pasta dish, also known as Pasta ai Taianu, is share dining at its finest as it really is a bake and eat from one pot dish. Put it in the middle of the table for everyone to help themselves.
It is a delicious baked pasta dish full of wonderful true Italian flavours. The sauce is the most time consuming and the most important as it is going to bring the whole meal together with its wonderful rich flavours.
Sicilian baked pasta
Serves 6–8 people with healthy serves
INGREDIENTS: ◗ 500g of rigatoni pasta ◗ ¼ cup olive oil ◗ 2 cloves garlic ◗ 300g diced shin veal ◗ 200g pork neck meat, chopped into 3cm chunks ◗ 200g lamb shoulder, diced into 3cm chunks ◗ 1 cup white wine ◗ 50g tomato paste ◗ 1 litre of passata (Italian bottled sauce) ◗ 1 sprig rosemary and thyme and 5 basil leaves ◗ ½ cup olive oil ◗ 1 large eggplant, sliced into 4ml rounds ◗ 100g grated pecorino cheese ◗ Fresh basil
METHOD: Heat the oil in a large pot and add the garlic cloves. Toss them around for a few minutes then remove and start to brown off the meat in batches.
Return the meat to the pot and add the white wine and simmer for 30 seconds. Add the tomato paste and tomato passata, rosemary, thyme and basil.
Bring to a simmer, cover with a lid and simmer for 1½ hours. Turn off the heat, adjust the seasoning and set aside.
Heat a heavy-based frypan with the extra olive oil and fry the eggplant rounds until golden on both sides, about 2-3 minutes. Drain on a paper towel.
Bring a large pot of salty water to the boil and cook the pasta as directed on the packet.
Drain the pasta and set aside. In a casserole pot that is suitable to go into the oven drizzle some olive oil and a spoonful of sauce to stop the pasta from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
Add some of the pasta in a good layer to cover the sauce, then top with more sauce, some of the eggplant slices and some of the grated pecorino or parmesan cheese.
Continue with the layering, finishing with the sauce and the cheese.
Preheat the oven to 160 degrees and bake the pasta for 30 minutes.
This is one of those dishes where the pasta is definitely better left for 10-15 minutes and even better the next day. Garnish with a little more basil and serve with extra pecorino cheese.
Eggplant is one of the stars in this easy one-pot pasta dish.