Pasta al forno or oven baked pasta has a history all to its own.
What do I mean no rules? Well, pasta al forno is basically more of a method. Ingredients can vary widely and prepared in millions of Italian kitchens pasta al forno is usually the result of true creativity-an inspired cook or in my case, the nagging feeling that I need to use up some leftovers.
So a brief history of pasta al forno… Oven baked pasta has a history that dates back to the late Middle Ages and Renaissance where these dishes were served at banquets at the palaces of the nobles.
The great diversity in preparations of pasta al forno greatly depends not only what you have on hand, but also what area the recipe hails from.
3 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1.2kg (2lb 10oz) minced beef (without meat if you prefer a veg version)
bay leaf 500ml (17fl oz) tomato passata
450g (1lb) rigatoni pasta
250g (9oz) mozzarella, roughly chopped
About 4 tbsp grated Parmesan, plus extra for serving