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How to prepare the perfect baked pasta? The recipe that everyone agrees


Traditional baked pasta

Baked pasta is a triumph of aromas and flavors, a recipe that immediately makes the family and brings a lot of joy. The important thing, however, is to prepare it in the best possible way!

I don't know about you, but every time we take out a pan of steaming pasta in the oven, we feel great satisfaction : the house is flooded with a very pleasant scent, which only baking can give! To obtain this delicious baked first course, in addition to pasta, you need a mix of béchamel, Parmigiano Reggiano and the always super popular and timeless meat sauce.

The big advantage (and convenience) of baked pasta? While she cooks, you can dedicate the waiting minutes to the family and perhaps enjoy appetizers at the table all together . And that's not all: if you don't have much time available, just prepare it in advance and heat it just before serving.

The only condition: the recipe for baked pasta must be done in a workmanlike manner ! Today we will reveal all the secrets to making this dish without mistakes.

Traditional baked pasta
Traditional baked pasta

Baked pasta: the perfect recipe (and unmissable tips)

Everyone has their own recipes in the kitchen. There are secrets handed down by grandparents and great-grandparents, advice that we have learned thanks to particular experiences and some tricks that we know by heart. Well, today, speaking of baked pasta, there are some things you cannot ignore. Here they are!

The ingredients of the perfect baked pasta

baked pasta ingredients
baked pasta ingredients

The goodness of a dish is obtained by using excellent quality raw materials. Try to avoid using ready-made products available at the supermarket, such as béchamel sauce, meat sauce, etc… If you do everything with your hands, there will not only be more satisfaction, but also more taste! You will need:

  • 600 g of macaroni or penne (or short pasta)
  • 1 kg of meat sauce
  • 400 ml of béchamel
  • 400 g of mozzarella
  • 90 g of Parmesan
  • Extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper to taste

Remember that a perfect baked pasta must have a very firm bechamel, a thick ragù and a very dry mozzarella. Don't believe it? Then you will end up with a “pond” at the bottom of the pan…

How to make the sauce for red baked pasta

Traditionally, this pasta is made with meat sauce and it's a good idea to start from here. If you don't have it ready (perhaps made in large quantities and then frozen) calculate about an hour for this preparation . With the doses below you will get the right amount of ragout for the recipe for baked pasta. The ingredients are:

  • 400 g of ground beef pulp
  • 200 g of minced pork
  • 300 g of tomato puree
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 stick of celery
  • 1 golden onion
  • 250 g of wine
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt to taste
  • pepper as needed
  • rosemary to taste
preparation of meat sauce
preparation of meat sauce
  1. Chop the onion, celery and carrots and sauté them in a saucepan with oil and a clove of garlic, adding a sprig of rosemary and bay leaf.
  2. After a handful of minutes, add the minced meat followed by the wine , which you will let evaporate, and finally the puréed tomato , salt and pepper.
  3. Remove the herbs and simmer for 30 minutes (minimum) until thickened enough (remember: it should be runny, but thick!).

Once ready, let it cool .

How to make béchamel

While the ragù is cooking, all that remains is the preparation of the homemade béchamel , which is much faster (it will be ready in less than half an hour: I promise!). We have already halved the quantities of ingredients compared to the classic recipe (which requires a liter of milk) so you will get the right quantity for the baked pasta recipe. So you need:

  • 50 g of butter
  • 50 g of sifted flour
  • 500 ml of warm milk
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • nutmeg to taste
  • pepper as needed
preparation of the béchamel
preparation of the béchamel
  1. First, melt the butter over low heat.
  2. Add the sifted flour and mix continuously with a whisk to avoid lumps. This preparation is the so-called roux.
  3. Cook the roux over low heat until golden .
  4. Add the hot milk and thicken everything. Complete with salt and herbs and your béchamel is ready!

Let it cool once ready.

How to make traditional baked pasta

Now, finally , we come to the real recipe for baked pasta!

preparation of baked pasta
preparation of baked pasta
  1. Start cooking the pasta in abundant salted water : you will have to drain it al dente.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, cut the mozzarella into cubes to release the milk.
  3. Drain the pasta and, in its cooking pot, season it with the ragù.
  4. Grease a baking dish well with EVO oil and start layering : pasta with meat sauce, béchamel and mozzarella cubes.
  5. Place the last cubes of mozzarella on top and sprinkle with grated cheese: in this way a crunchy crust will form. Bake in the oven at 180°C for half an hour. Enjoy your meal!

Primo Chef's advice for perfect baked pasta

  • As far as cooking pasta in the oven is concerned, everyone knows their oven perfectly, therefore, depending on the power (and if you prefer fan-assisted or static), the minutes will change: in general, however, a temperature ranging from 170 °C to around 200 °C , and cooking rarely goes below 15 minutes.
  • The importance of the right ingredients . Don't be fooled by haste: during a quick trip to the supermarket the temptation to buy sauce in a jar, thin sheets and chef's béchamel is strong. But, needless to underline it, the result will be a bit sad: we're not talking about epic disasters, but there's really no comparison with the 100% homemade one!
  • The shape of the pasta is very important: you can choose fusilli , penne, mezze Maniche or baked macaroni, but also gnocchi and tortellini if ​​you have any left over and you want to give them a new look. Long pasta, on the other hand, is not recommended.
  • Beware of textures! For a creamy result, fluidity is everything, but fluid doesn't mean liquid: to avoid surprises, try to obtain a full-bodied sauce, a thick béchamel, well-drained pasta and watch out for treacherous ingredients , such as mozzarella! Cut it in advance, so its milk will come out and won't release liquid during cooking!
  • Watch out for the tray! There's nothing worse than a steaming pan of simple and delicious baked pasta that… doesn't want to come out of the pan . Well, it also happens that the pan is not well greased and the pasta sticks to the bottom. Think about it: you won't make anyone happy if the crunchier and tastier pieces all stick together. All that wasted goodness… you just can't see it! For this reason, don't be stingy with the oil (or butter) to brush with before baking!
  • Cooking and baking pasta: when to drain pasta? It's simpler than people say: drain the pasta al dente and put it all in the oven to finish cooking in the oven. The (pre)cooking, then, based on our experience, is only necessary if you use semolina pasta ; a problem that therefore does not arise when you make lasagna: for ready-made thin sheets, the humidity of the other ingredients will suffice.

Baked pasta recipes: the best variations

If, on the other hand, you want a slightly more particular variant, you can indulge yourself with the filling or vary the pasta shapes. Furthermore, the preparation of this recipe allows us to give free rein to our imagination based on the ingredients available at that moment in the pantry and in the refrigerator . So here are many other recipes that you can not miss!

How to make white baked pasta

white baked dough
white baked dough

The preparation of baked pasta in white does not differ much from the original, both in terms of production times and ingredients. For the recipe of the white baked pasta (for 4 people) you will need:

  • 600 g of macaroni
  • 800 g of minced pork
  • 400 ml of béchamel
  • 400 g of mozzarella
  • 1/2 white onion
  • 1/2 carrot
  • 1 stick of celery
  • 90 g of Parmesan
  • 1/2 glass of white cooking wine
  • extra virgin olive oil to taste
  • Salt and Pepper To Taste

The white one is a quick and simple baked pasta: compared to the traditional one, it omits the tomato; the white ragout simply prepared with minced meat, mozzarella, short pasta and béchamel come together in a mouth-watering first course (or single dish).

Baked Paccheri

Paccheri au gratin in the oven
Paccheri au gratin in the oven

Paccheri, unlike many other pastas, are perfect for filling! And our recipe is no exception: you can put whatever you want in it (even the ragù we prepared earlier), but we have chosen to make baked paccheri with chicory and ricotta . You will need:

  • 240 g of paccheri
  • 1 shallot
  • 400 g of chicory
  • 500 g of cottage cheese
  • 50 g of Parmigiano Reggiano + that for gratin
  • Salt to taste
  • black pepper to taste
  • basil to taste

Cook the vegetables separately, add them to the ricotta and then use them to stuff the pasta; arrange the stuffed paccheri upright in your pan: it is so spectacular that you will see that when you bring them to the table everyone will love them!

Baked pasta and potatoes

Baked pasta with potatoes
Baked pasta with potatoes

Our recipe for baked pasta and potatoes is with provola and bacon , but as usual you can omit an ingredient or add more based on your tastes and possible intolerances. Here are the ingredients for pasta and baked potatoes (for 4 people):

  • 320 g of short pasta (penne or striped celery)
  • 400 g of potatoes
  • 200 g of provolone
  • 100 g of bacon
  • Grated Parmesan to taste
  • extra virgin olive oil to taste
  • Salt and Pepper To Taste

This baked pasta with béchamel meets potatoes and bacon for a result of maximum creaminess and sweetness, but also of taste! In short, try this wonderful dish of poor origin for a rich and substantial lunch!

Vegetarian baked pasta

vegetarian baked pasta
vegetarian baked pasta

Baked pasta with vegetables is a variant of the most popular and appreciated, not only by vegetarians. It is colorful and will please all your guests. Let's see the ingredients for the recipe of the vegetarian pasta in the oven (for 4 people):

  • 350 g of pasta
  • 2 broccoli
  • 2 zucchini
  • 2 mozzarella
  • 100 g of béchamel
  • 80 g of grated cheese
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • Salt and Pepper To Taste
  • extra virgin olive oil to taste
  • breadcrumbs to taste

The best part of this vegetarian recipe is that you can vary the vegetables according to the season or what you have in the fridge: go ahead with zucchini in the summer, broccoli in the winter (and baked pasta with eggplant all year round!) and whatever you like best. Try it, you will love it !

Neapolitan baked pasta

baked Neapolitan pasta
baked Neapolitan pasta

Few dishes cry out to tradition like Neapolitan baked pasta : a sort of rich mess with many ingredients (meatballs, tomato sauce, egg, cheese and salami , to name a few) . For our Neapolitan pasta recipe (for 4 people) you need:

  • 300 g of pasta
  • 300 g of tomato pulp
  • 200 g of minced meat
  • 3 eggs
  • 120 g of grated cheese
  • 80 g of mozzarella
  • 60 g of scamorza
  • 80 g of Neapolitan salami
  • Salt and Pepper To Taste
  • basil to taste
  • extra virgin olive oil to taste
  • frying oil to taste
  • flour to taste

You can serve it hot, freshly baked or cold the next day: we guarantee it will be a great success thanks to its richness and variety of flavours!

Sicilian baked pasta

Sicilian baked pasta
Sicilian baked pasta

The Sicilian baked pasta is even more delicious than the recipe we have just seen! For a perfect result we advise you to use the rings . Here are the ingredients:

  • 600 g of macaroni or anelletti
  • 400 g of tomato sauce
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 2 mozzarella
  • 3 boiled eggs
  • 80 g of sausage
  • 250 g of minced meat
  • 90 g of Sicilian pecorino
  • 30 g of breadcrumbs
  • extra virgin olive oil to taste
  • Salt to taste
  • pepper as needed

This version is really rich and once again you can customize it as you like! For example, take inspiration from the Palermitan version and add peas to the ragù , as well as tomato and cheese.

Calabrian baked pasta (with meatballs)

baked pasta with meatballs
baked pasta with meatballs

Were you wondering where is the famous baked pasta with meatballs ? Here it is: also known as Calabrian baked pasta or chjina pasta , it is a delicious recipe that takes a long time to prepare , which is why it is made the day before and reserved for special occasions, such as holidays. The ingredients may vary but we recommend (for 8 people):

  • 160 g of ground beef
  • 90 g of sausage
  • 350 g of tomato pulp
  • 1 bunch of parsley
  • olive oil to taste
  • 400 g of macaroni
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 4 eggs
  • Salt to taste
  • pepper as needed
  • 1 glass of red wine
  • 1 slice of sandwich bread
  • 100 g of provolone
  • oil for frying to taste

Making it is no different from all the other recipes. Just remember that meatballs are strictly fried . For the rest, alternate all the ingredients in a baking dish and then cook in the oven at 200°C for about 20 minutes.

This recipe is very similar to baked pasta alla Pugliese: also in this variant there are meatballs, accompanied however by mortadella (and sometimes also by hard-boiled eggs).

Botched pasta

baked pasta
baked pasta

Let's continue with therecipe for botched pasta which, as the name suggests, lends itself to many variations based on what we have in the fridge.

  • 600 g of macaroni or penne (or short pasta)
  • 700 ml of tomato puree
  • 400 ml of béchamel
  • 400 g of mozzarella
  • 90 g of Parmesan
  • 100 g of salami
  • 100 g of mortadella
  • 200 g of provolone
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs in pieces
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper To Taste

This is by far the tastiest version (have you seen how many ingredients?) But the best part is that you can customize them with whatever you want: this recipe was born as a recycling idea for cured meats and eggs. Layer as desired and bake at 200°C for about 20 minutes!

Macaroni and cheese

Macaroni and cheese
Macaroni and cheese

To change a little ( perhaps a little much ) but stay on baked pasta, we want to delight you with an American dish that is famous all over the world but which, in our opinion, you have never had the courage to prepare: mac and cheese with cheese).

  • 400 g of corkscrew
  • 1 liter of milk
  • 300 g of cheddar
  • 150 g of Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 60 g of butter
  • 60 g of flour
  • Salt and Pepper To Taste
  • nutmeg to taste

Cook the pasta, draining it halfway through cooking and in the meantime prepare a classic béchamel sauce . When it is ready you will have to combine the two cheeses and flakes or grated and wait for them to melt in the sauce. Mix everything together, finish with a final sprinkling of parmesan on the surface and put in the oven at 180°C for 20-25 minutes .

Baked pasta with eggplant

Baked pasta with eggplant
Baked pasta with eggplant

We close with a flourish with a perfect baked pasta with aubergines ! A dish actually suitable for the summer, given the presence of aubergines, but which can actually be reproduced for good or bad at any time of year.

  • 400 g of short pasta
  • 300 g of tomato puree
  • 4 eggplants
  • 250 g of mozzarella in small pieces
  • 100 g of grated cheese
  • Salt to taste
  • basil to taste
  • evo oil to taste
  • half onion

Drain the aubergines then cut them into cubes and cook them in a pan with a drizzle of oil and salt (you can also fry them). Once cooked, add the tomato puree and basil to taste, while the sauce is cooking, put the pasta in the pot and cook it. Drain it and add it to half the sauce and form the layers of baked pasta: a layer of pasta, one of well-drained mozzarella and a ladle of sauce. Proceed in this way until the ingredients are finished and complete with mozzarella flakes and grated cheese. Then put in the oven at 180°C for about 20-25 minutes .

Did you like these ideas? Then we leave you all our best recipes for Sunday lunch and don't miss all our lasagna recipes !

storage

For the original baked pasta recipe and its variations, we recommend keeping everything in the fridge, well covered in transparent film and for a maximum of 2-3 days . If you want you can freeze the dish in the freezer. once cooked and brought back to room temperature.


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