Sunday, August 18, 2013

Timballo Pasta with Fresh Ricotta

Timballo Pasta with fresh Ricotta

Like the chilaquiles, this recipe is based off of heart of the artichoke by David Tanis.  I was intrigued by the pasta bake and started to read about it.  Then I discovered even the tomato sauce was homemade for this recipe.  I took it one step further and made my own ricotta cheese as well as it is quick to make and tastes so good when made at home.  Plus, it is much cheaper than buying a pound of ricotta which has been in the store for who knows how long.  This dish also reheats very well, so leftovers are great for lunch the next day.  It does make a lot given that it is based on a pound of pasta.  I used elbows, but the original recipe states anelli which are rings, but I could not find them.  Once you have the sauce and the ricotta, this dish is quick to assemble and bake, so makes a good weeknight meal also.

Timballo Pasta with fresh Ricotta

1 pound pasta
olive oil
salt and pepper
red pepper flakes
4 cups tomato sauce
1 pound fresh ricotta, room temperature
pecorino, grated
basil leaves, chopped

Preheat the oven to 350F.  Bring a pot of salted water to a boil, and boil your pasta for 12 minutes or as needed to reach al dente.  Drain and put in a large bowl.  Add some olive oil and season with sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, and red pepper flakes.  Heat the tomato sauce.  In a large oven-proof cake pan, spoon half the tomato sauce and half the ricotta.  Pour in all the pasta.  Then pour the rest of the tomato sauce and ricotta on top of the pasta.  Sprinkle with the grated pecorino.  Heat in the oven for 10-15 minutes, until hot all the way through.  Remove from oven and sprinkle with more pecorino and fresh chopped basil.

Tomato Sauce
1/8 cup olive oil
1 small onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
salt and pepper
4 pounds ripe tomatoes (peeled, seeded, and chopped)
basil (a spring or small hand full of leaves)

Heat the oil in a heavy pot.  Saute the onion until soft, about 10 minutes.  Add garlic, salt, pepper and cook for about a minute.  Add the tomatoes and basil and let the sauce come to a boil for about 5 minutes.  Reduce heat and cook for 75 - 90 miuntes.  The sauce will be done when it is not too thin, nor too thick.  Remove from heat.  Puree with a hand blender until appropriate smoothness.  This sauce is able to be frozen for later use.  (Makes about 4 cups)
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