Thursday, 25 February 2010

Rigatoni Al Forno

When the weather is cold, wet and miserable I take comfort in my kitchen making winter-warming food for my family. I love making meals that we all look forward to after a long day at the office or college and this pasta dish is comfort food at its absolute best. I was thinking about what to make for dinner when I remembered this pasta recipe that I used to make often and was a favourite of ours. My boys actually got excited when I told them what I had made for dinner and there wasn’t a scrap left on any of our plates. This is definitely one that all you pasta lovers out there should try!

Rigatoni Al Forno

Serves 6

For the meat sauce

1 onion
2 carrots
2 sticks of celery
2 cloves of garlic
50g unsmoked streaky bacon or pancetta
50 g butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
500g minced beef
400g can chopped tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato puree
250ml red wine
2 bay leaves
200ml water, swilled in the tomato can

For the b├ęchamel
85g butter
50g plain flour
500ml milk
Salt or stock granules to taste
Freshly grated nutmeg

1 x 500g pack Rigatoni pasta

25g Parmesan, freshly grated (I also used cheddar)

Roughly chop the peeled onions, peeled carrots, the bacon or pancetta and the celery. Peel the garlic clove and put them along with the chopped veg and bacon into a food processor and finely chop. Or chop finely by hand. Heat the butter and oil in a large pan and fry your bacony vegetable mush gently for 10 minutes or until soft.

Add the minced beef and fork it through until it browns in the pan as much as possible. Pour in the chopped tomatoes, puree, red wine, bay and tomatoey water. Stir well and bring to the boil, then turn down the heat, partially cover and let cook gently for 2 hours.

To make the white sauce, melt the butter in a saucepan then add the flour and stir and cook together to make a roux. Take off the heat briefly, and whisk in the milk – just using a hand whisk – then put back on the heat and, stirring all the time, let the sauce come to boil and bubble away for a few minutes to get rid of the floury taste. Season with salt and pepper (or you could use some crumbled stock cube or bouillon concentrate). Turn down the heat slightly and cook until slightly thickened, though this needs to be liquid-y enough to coat the pasta easily. After turning off the heat stir some freshly grated nutmeg through the sauce.

Preheat the oven to 200˚C/fan oven 180˚C/gas 6 and put the water on for the pasta. When the water comes to the boil, add salt and cook the pasta until its al dente.

Drain the pasta and, while still a little wet, put it back into the saucepan and pour the white sauce over, mixing well. Add the meat sauce and mix again, until the pasta is covered in both. Tip the sauced pasta into a large buttered roasting or oven-proof dish, cover the top with grated parmesan and cook for 30- 40 minutes or until the top is crispy and golden.


Jacqueline Meldrum said...

Looks great and an easy one for me to make veggie :)

Petit Filoux said...

This looks yum - it's not even 9 o'clock, but if you put a plate of that in front of me now, i'd definitely eat it!

Beth (jamandcream) said...

Yum, lovely and comforting. Are those pasta bowls from Whittards??

Anna's kitchen table said...

That looks amazing, my family would all devour that in 2 seconds LOL

arista said...

I've never tried this recipe - it's an interesting mixture of bolognese and lasagne which I know my boys would love too. I'll have to cook it when the weather cools down here.

Chele said...

How warm and cosy does this dish make you feel!!! We don't eat red meat but I reckon I could exchange the minced beef with minced chicken instead and it would still have all those wonderful warming traits we need with this weather!

Helen said...

That looks great - I'll be trying this soon. I've just realised though that your recipe doesn't include the quantity of milk used in the white sauce - could you let me know how much I need?

Maria♥ said...

Opps missed adding the milk quantity, it's added now. This is a great pasta dish, hope you love it.


libbi23 said...

WoW! What can i say! This went down a bomb at my nephew's 'house' graduation party. Pretty easy to make although give yourself time to prepare and cook. I started at 7pm and didn't finish 'til around midnight! But have to say it was worth it. x

Anonymous said...

Herby says

this is a great meal for the first cold days in the fall or winter in general. Very comforting. Our little family enjoyed it greatly.

Enjoyed the process of preparing it, which took 3 hours, some music, some wine! Held off on the wine as we have a 3 year old, but the rigatoni al forno still tasted very good.

Lucy said...

Love this recipe, have used and amended it so many times, delicious!! Almost better than lasagne on a comfort food front - you don't need to cut it up?!! (eek lazy)
re the red wine and toddlers - any alcohol is burnt off (low boiling point), leaving just the nice rich taste.

Anyway thank you for blogging this - yummy