Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Pasta Al Forno - Quick and easy Oven Baked Pasta

Yesterday I spent the work breaks looking for a good recipe for the evening. You might think I'm nuts, however, I did find an idea that suited a simple Tuesday evening: Oven Baked Pasta!

Eureka! As soon as we arrived home, after collecting our son from school, I turned on the oven to 170 Celsius. Then I placed a pot of water on the hob to cook the pasta. What I used:

1/2 Kilo of pasta
2 mozzarellas
a few slices of ham

Then I made the simplest Besciamella Sauce ever:

1/2 litre of milk
a few spoons of plain flour
a few spoons of olive oil
a pinch of nutmeg

Bear in mind, I always have nutmeg in the kitchen. It is needed and that's it. Plus, a small jar will last me for a couple of years.

So, to the Besciamella Sauce. Place the oil in a small non-stick pot. Stirring, add the flour and keep stirring until there is no more lumps in the mixture. Let this mixture "cook" on low heat for a few minutes, but never stop stirring otherwise it might burn. Add the milk and keep stirring, turn the heat up a bit and wait... In a few minutes, you will have a thicker sauce. At this point, add a pinch of nutmeg. Cover this pot and remove from the heat.

Second step: Pasta. While the Besciamella was in the making, the water for the Pasta came to a boil. Once I had the Besciamella done, I added the salt (always rock salt) to the water and threw in 1/2 kilo of Pasta. I used a small pasta called conchiglie, which is the one in the shape of a snail... But penne do just fine as well. The only recommendation is not to use long pasta.

Third step: I removed the pasta from the hob when it was "al dente", meaning it was not yet fully cooked, still a bit hard.

Fourth Step: I drained the pasta and placed it in the oven dish, mixing it with the Besciamella Sauce, a bit of Mozzarella cut in pieces (any other cheese will do in this case, especially spreadable soft cheese) and the ham cut in small pieces.

Fifth Step: place in the middle of the oven and in 30 minutes you will be eating a wonderful dinner...

It really takes nothing to cook something nice. It takes more to go to the shop and pick a ready made meal. And this saves money as well, which is always good, right?

PS: I also had enough left for my lunchbox and my son's for today :)


  1. My mom says that it's better to cook besciamella putting milk and flour already altogether on the flame, since the beginning when they're both cold. This avoids any risk of lumps. Me, I never tried. I usually mix flour little by little while butter (or oil) is slowly heating up on the fire, adding milk at the end. But my mom usually knows what she's talking about in the kitchen.

    1. No doubt! Mums always know better. Everyone needs to experiment, I suppose, and in my own experience I found that adding the milk at the end works better. At least for me :)