Rigatoni al Forno

This is my titivated version of a recipe by Nigella Lawson. The alterations I’ve made are basically adding a puree of sun dried tomatoes, more garlic, no water but more wine instead!
I also like a mixture of beef and pork, that's what I used but you can, of course, use all beef if you prefer.
Be sure to buy good quality minced beef and pork with a low fat content or the dish will end up oily and horrid. I also think that sun dried tomatoes add a nice sweetness to this dish. A note on tinned tomatoes – you can buy really cheap ones but if you can try to get really good quality ones as some just seem to be in a very watery water instead of nice thick tomato juice.
Serves 4 slightly greedy people but would easily serve 4 adults and 2 children.
You will need;
One large or two medium sized ovenproof dishes
500g rigatoni
100g Parmesan, freshly grated

For the Meat Sauce;
2 onions
1 carrot
1 stick celery
4 fat cloves of garlic
80g of either smoked streaky bacon or pancetta
1 tablespoon tomato puree
5 or 6 sun dried tomatoes drained from their oil (or re hydrated dried ones)
30g butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
250g minced beef
250g minced pork
1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes – including the juice
160ml red wine
3 bay leaves

For the Béchamel sauce;
100g butter
70g plain flour
560ml milk
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
freshly grated nutmeg

How to do it;
Peel the onions and carrots and chop into big cubes. Do the same with the celery. Peel the garlic cloves and put everything including the bacon into a food processor and finely chop.
Don’t bother washing the processor up just yet – hold up on that as you’ll need it again in a minute!

Heat the butter and oil in a large pan and fry this mixture along with the tomato puree over a low heat and cook for about 10 minutes or until soft.
Now add the beef and pork and stir it about a bit until it browns evenly.
While this is cooking nicely add the sun dried tomatoes to the food processor and give them a good whizz up so you end up with a tomato paste. Add this paste to the meat. Give everything a good stir.

Add the tomatoes, red wine and bay leaves. Stir well and bring to the boil.
Now turn down the heat and cover with a bit of kitchen foil or a lid but only partially cover. Let this mixture cook for about on a low heat for about 1 and half hours stirring now and then.
It shouldn’t go dry but if it does you will need to add a teeny bit more wine or water if you must.

For the Sauce;
Melt the butter in a saucepan then add the flour and stir and cook together.
Take off the heat briefly, and whisk in the milk with a hand held balloon whisk. Now put back on the heat stirring all the time.
Once the sauce is bubbling leave it for a few minutes to cook stirring all the while.
Season with salt and pepper and turn down the heat and cook until slightly thickened. You want a fairly running sauce to be able to coat the pasta easily. When that’s done remove from the heat and stir in some freshly grated nutmeg.

Preheat your oven to 200C/400F/ Gas 6
Put a large pan of slightly salted water on to boil ready for your pasta.
When it’s boiling add the pasta. Cook the pasta until it’s almost done (al dente). You don’t want soggy pasta.
Drain the pasta and while still a bit wet, put it back into the saucepan.

Now pour the white sauce over and give it a good mix to coat the pasta.

Remove the bay leaves from the sauce. Now add the meat sauce and mix again until the pasta is covered in both.
Don’t fuss about getting it all even colour as it looks better with more white sauce in places.
Pour the lot into your oven proof dish – or dishes as this does make enough for about 4 or 6 people. Sprinkle the top generously with grated Parmesan – you can mix in some grated cheddar too if you fancy.
Cover loosely with foil and cook for about 25 minutes.
Now remove the foil and cook for another 10 minutes until it’s cooked through, piping hot and the top is bubbling, golden and crispy.


17 comments

  1. Yay! I get to be first! That looks heavenly Jan! Impressive! I'm sitting here eating cherry clafoutis for breakfast and I am wanting Rigatoni!

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  2. Jan, u should open a restaurant in HK, we will love you!

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  3. Bless you Kenny - you are so kind with your comments.

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  4. Yum - looks my kind of comfort food

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  5. Your description of the serving sizes is hilarious haha. We only get Nigella once or twice a week here in the US but all of her recipes tend to be great. Love the nutmeg in the white sauce btw!

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  6. That looks yummy, Jan. More wine is always good and I like the beef/pork ix. I always buy pork sausages, cut hem open and use the sausage meat in recipes like this. It adds extra flavour as the meat is already seasoned.

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  7. This is such comfort food for those non-seasonal cooler days of summer:D

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  8. I could eat pasta every day! Looks great jan.

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  9. Jan, I love me a baked rigatoni and I add some eggplant in too! Indeedy delish.

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  10. I'm sorry, but I don't see "bacon" in the ingredients. DId I just miss it? Can you please send me that info?
    Thanks...and love the blog.
    Leigh at lreyno5@aol.com

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  11. Mmm one of our favourite recipes and it looks delicious Jan.

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  12. Gorgeous, crispy and yet creamy. Wish I could save it straight onto my hard drive!!

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  13. Jan you have got a lovely space here...that plate does look very tempting...and I am a vegetarian!...:)

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  14. Looks and sounds absolutely yummy.

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  15. Mmm, even in the hot weather we are having, this looks tempting! So true what you say about the differing quality of tinned tomatoes.

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  16. Hello Jan,
    Heaven't visit your blog for a long time. Have been busy in Malaysia's for 2 months+. Now I'm back. Your receipe still interesting pasta...YUM..and I love it.;)

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  17. Jan, this is awesome! I bury hard boiled eggs to the mixture prior to putting in the oven. A great, hearty meal.

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Thanks for taking the time to comment - much appreciated.
Cheers
Jan

PS: I hate having to do this but anyone trying to leave links in their comments please save yourself the trouble as they will NOT be published....
Thank you, you know who you are :)

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