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Pasta al Forno

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If you’re craving a big warm hug in the form of a rich, cheesy pasta dish, this authentic Pasta al Forno recipe is just what you need! Straight from the heart of Italy

Ingredients


Pasta:
1 lb rigatoni or ziti pasta
2 tsp kosher salt plus more for salting water
Meat Sauce:
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 yellow onion finely diced
3 garlic cloves minced
8 oz ground pork
6 oz Italian pork sausage casings removed
1 28oz can crushed tomatoes or tomato passata
1 tsp dried Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes optional
1/4 cup fresh basil chopped
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
Cheeses:
12 oz fresh mozzarella grated
2 oz pecorino romano cheese grated
Chopped parsley for garnish


Instructions
Make the meat sauce: In a large pot or skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook for 2 minutes until translucent. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute more until fragrant.
Add the ground pork and sausage. Use a wooden spoon to break it up into crumbles as it browns, about 5-7 minutes. Pour in the crushed tomatoes, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Let the sauce simmer uncovered for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally, to thicken and concentrate in flavor. Remove from heat and stir in the fresh basil.
Cook the pasta: While the sauce simmers, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the rigatoni for 2-3 minutes less than al dente according to package instructions, since it will continue cooking in the oven. Reserve 2 cups of the starchy pasta cooking water before draining.
Assemble the pasta al forno: In a large bowl or pot, combine the slightly undercooked, drained rigatoni, meat sauce, 3/4 of the grated mozzarella and pecorino cheeses, and 1 to 1 1/2 cups of the reserved pasta cooking water.
Toss everything together until fully combined and saucy, adding a splash more pasta water as needed to reach your desired creamy, spoobable consistency.
Transfer to baking dish and top with cheese: Pour the pasta mixture into a greased 9×13 baking dish or large oven-safe skillet. Use a spoon to spread it into an even layer. Top with the remaining mozzarella and pecorino romano cheese.
Bake: Bake uncovered at 350°F for 20-25 minutes until hot, bubbling, and the cheese is fully melted and lightly browned on top. For an extra crispy baked cheese topping, broil for 2-3 minutes at the end.


Rest and serve: Let the baked pasta al forno rest for 5 minutes before serving hot. Garnish with chopped parsley if desired. Enjoy!

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