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Anelletti al Forno alla Siciliana - Baked pasta Sicilian style

Ingredients:

Serves 4 people as a main meal

  • 500g anelletti (pasta in the shape of small rings)
  • 80g butter
  • 50g caciocavallo cheese, grated (see notes)
  • 3 hard boiled eggs, cut in half
  • 150g primosale cheese, thinly sliced (see notes)
  • 400g tomato sauce
  • 200g frozen peas, defrosted
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 400g ragù
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 1 chilli pepper
  • 45g breadcrumbs

Method:

  1. Put the olive oil, garlic clove and chilli pepper into a small saucepan and heat gently until the garlic is browned.
  2. Remove the garlic and chilli, add the defrosted peas and gently brown them. Add one ladle of water and cook for 10mins.
  3. Cook the pasta, according to the instructions on the packet.
  4. Drain, mix in 50g of the butter and stir until melted and all of the pasta is coated.
  5. Add two thirds of the tomato sauce and the grated caciocavallo cheese. Stir well.
  6. Grease a round baking dish with butter and sprinkle with the breadcrumbs.
  7. Pour two thirds of the pasta mixture into the baking dish.
  8. Add half of the primasale slices, then half the peas, and then all of the ragù.
  9. Arrange the eggs evenly on top and then cover with the remaining primosale slices and then the remaining peas.
  10. Finally add the remaining pasta mixture making sure that the top is completely covered.
  11. Dot with the remaining butter.
  12. Heat oven to 190C and cook for 40 minutes until it is browned well and is slightly crispy.
  13. Rest for a few minutes and then turn out onto a serving plate.
  14. Take your impressive masterpiece to the table and serve in slices.

Notes:

This baked pasta dish comes from the Palermo area of Sicily but is very popular all over the island. Local variations have arisen, but this is the basic recipe. It may seem complicated, but is in fact relatively easy to make. There are a lot of ingredients but the ragù and tomato sauce can be made the day before. It is an impressive dish to serve up when you have guests and is best with a mixed green salad.

Tomato sauce - either make your own the day before, or use a jar of good quality passata.

Ragù - this is a simple sauce made basically with minced beef, onions and tomatoes, although everyone has their own version. The ragù can also be made the day before.

Caciocavallo cheese - a hard cheese popular all over the south of Italy and can usually be found in supermarkets world wide. If you can't find any it can be substituted either with Parmesan chesse or Pecorino Romano.

Primosale cheese - a rindless, cows milk cheese with a soft elastic consistency and a mild, delicate, slightly sweet flavour. It is difficult to find outside of Italy so the most readily available cheese that could be a sustitute is mozzarella.
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