Sunday, March 25, 2012

Ziti al Forno -- Random Recipe #7

Okay guys, time for another Random Recipe! This week's random cookbook was A World of Pasta. I haven't had this book very long, a year or so, I bought it used from amazon one day while I was looking for a different cookbook. It just looked like an interesting book, I love the older recipes in cookbooks that may have been forgotten over the years. This book was originally published in 1978 but I have the 1985 version. I hadn't had a chance to try a recipe from this book yet so this is my first one.

My random recipe this week was Ziti al Forno made with Filetto Sauce, I had never heard of filetto sauce before and wondered what filetto sauce even was, so was pleasantly surprised to find it was similar to a marinara sauce. In the Filetto Sauce recipe preface it says...This is a special light sauce that restauranteurs in Italy make on Sundays and serve to themselves and their staffs on fresh pasta that day. It is a special sauce for us, too, to which we often add other igredients when we wish to vary it. It freezes well, thus we usually make up a big batch. Its creators use proscuitto fat to saute the onions and garlic, but we've found that olive oil does the job nicely.

Filetto Sauce

4 tablespoons of olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minves
4 large onions, finely chopped (I used onion powder)
1 and 1/2 teaspoons of salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons dry oregano
2 tablespoons dry basil
1/8 teaspoon of hot red-pepper flakes
3 pounds of very rupe plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped, or 2 two pound cans of Italian plum tomatoes (with basil), run through a food mill (I skipped the food mill)
1/2 teaspoon of sugar

In a pot, heat the oil, and saute the garlic until soft. Add the onions and cook until soft. Stir in the salt, pepper, oregano, basil, and red-pepper flakes, blending well. Add the tomatoes and sugar, stirring them into the other ingredients until well mixed. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer and cook, oncovered, for about 35 minutes, stirring often. The appeal of this sauce is its lightness, so do not overcook. When you can move a wooden spoon across the top of the sauce without leaving a watery trail, it is ready. It should be smooth and thick but not heavy. Do not revert to other pasta sauce techniques and use either tomato paste of the "crushed tomatoes" that come in a can. This destroys the personality of Filetto Sauce.

Ziti al Forno
adapted from A World of Pasta -- Maris Luisa Scott and Jack Denton Scott
Italy -- This is the Italian pasta lover's favorite. Al forno simply means in the oven, baked.

1 pound of ziti (a large, long pasta tube), in 1 inch pieces, cooked very al dente, drained
3 tablespoons of butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon of black pepper (I left this off since I didn't want this too peppery for the kids and there is already pepper in the filetto sauce)
1/2 cup grated Asiago or Parmesan cheese (I used Asiago and upped it to 3/4 cup)
1/2 cup grated Romano cheese (I upped this to 3/4 cup also)
1 pound of fresh ricotto cheese, about 1 and 1/2 cups
2 cups of Filetto Sauce (I upped this to 3 cups since it seemed pretty dry with only 2 -- you could probably use any tomato based pasta sauce here)

In a bowl place the ziti, butter, and pepper; toss well. Add half of the asiago and romano; toss well.

In a baking dish (I used a 9 by 13 pyrex) make a layer of pasta, sprinkle with asiago and romano, add a layer of ricotta...

cover with sauce. Repeat the procedure until the pasta, cheeses, and sauce are used; the lasy layer should be sauce and grated cheese.

Cook, uncovered, in a preheated 375 degree oven until bubbling and browned. (This took about 30 minutes for me.)


This was a very yummy basic baked ziti. I really liked it but I am a baked ziti fan. My youngest loved the sauce and all three kids ate their plates of ziti, although I did hear some whining about not liking the ricotta cheese. I thought the bites of ricotta were one of the best parts but I love ricotta. Picky husband had a few bites but he does not like pasta without meat (except for homemade macaroni and cheese) so he wasn't really a fan. Oh-well. I think that most people would like this recipe.

I do have a favorite baked ziti recipe that is super cheesey, with provolone, mozzarella (actually this was the first ziti I've tried that didn't have mozzarella), and more. I usually make it for get togethers at our house and serve it along side picky husband's favorite meat lasagna so people can have a meatless option. This recipe won't be replacing my old one, but I thought it was great and the leftovers reheated perfectly and made a nice lunch the next day. I enjoyed learning about Filetto sauce and would make this recipe again :)

1 comment:

pinkstripes said...

It sounds delicious! I like older books/recipes too. :)

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