Baked Pasta – Anelletti al forno

Ingredients for 4 servings

1 lbs. ring pasta, 9 oz. ground veal (or a mix of minced veal and pork), 3 cups tomato sauce,1 medium onion, 1/2 carrot, 1/2 celery stalk, 1 1/2 oz. butter, 6 tablespoons extra virgin oliveoil, basil, 3 1/2 oz. fresh caciocavallo, 2 oz. of grated parmesan, 7 oz. shelled peas, 2 spoonstomato concentrate, fresh parsley 1 bu., 1 large eggplant, seed oil, 3 boiled eggs, 1 smallglass of dry Marsala wine (or 1/2 glass of dry white wine), 1/2 cup breadcrumbs, sugar TT, salt, pepper TT.

Preparation

Brown the minced celery, carrot and 1/2 onion in a saucepan with 1 tablespoon of butter and 2 tablespoons of oil; add the minced meat and brown. Add some wine and the peas and simmer for a couple of minutes. Dissolve the tomato concentrate in a cup of warm water: add salt, peppersprinkle with minced parsley and cook at low heat, for about 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.wash the eggplant; cut off its steam, slice, put in a colander and sprinkle with coarse salt and let rest. After 1 hour rinse, dry and fry the eggplant in abundant seed oil; lay the slices on paper towels to drain excess fat. Brown the remaining onion, in a casserole with oil; add the tomato paste, a pinch of salt, a dash of pepper, a pinch of sugar and a handful of leaves of basil. Mix and cook at medium heat for about twenty minutes. In the meantime, cook the pasta in plenty of salty water; cook al dente and drain, season
with the sauce and the grated parmesan ( leave 1 spoonful). Pour half of this mixture in a buttered baking-pan sprinkled with breadcrumbs; cover with the meat sauce. Arrange in layers the eggplants, the sliced eggs and the diced caciocavallo. Cover with the remaining pasta and sprinkle with the parmesan and a handful of breadcrumbs. Top with bits of butter and bake for about 1 hour.

Variation

In some areas of eastern Sicily baked pasta is enriched with bits of salami or sausage, fresh tuma instead of caciocavallo and meatballs with peas in meat sauce instead of minced meat. Furthermore, a type of flan (“gattò”) is made with the same seasoning of this recipe in the whole island, with some local variations. Shortcrust (with little sugar) filled with macaronis, used instead of rings, seasoned with meat sauce and flavored with some truffe makes, instead, the “timballo (flan) of the monzù”.

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