23 September 2007

Jamie Oliver's Baked Pasta with Tomatoes & Mozzarella

Jamie Oliver's Baked Pasta with Tomatoes and Mozzarella
Jamie Oliver is a chef after my own heart. His recipes call for a handful of this, a splash of that or even a glug. Nothing is terribly exacting when you are cooking savory dishes; they are open to experimentation. When baking you don't have the same culinary freedom to throw things in with abandon. Perhaps that is why I would NOT call myself a baker and usually dread having to make anything resembling a pastry crust or anything in the category of sweets. I love to eat all of these things, so, I do try, but I can't compare my creations to those well seasoned cooks out there or anyone in The Daring Bakers. Kudos to you ladies and gents!!! Thank goodness baking is not my day job!!!

Perhaps it also goes back to my rebellious nature and not wanting to follow rules and regulations. I am so regimented in my job, everything has to be done with precision and with such high attention to detail that perhaps I thrive a little too much on bending the rules. I get a little spark in my eye when I throw in 12 cloves of garlic or a few too many hot peppers. I don't like to be regimented. Baking is such a precise science that it does not bend to my nature. If I throw in too much baking soda or eggs it would flop...which is also against my nature because I must succeed!!!!

I am entering this recipe of Jamie's into the Presto Pasta Nights over at Ruth's Once Upon a Feast. Ruth is a talented cookbook author in Halifax who also does cooking class parties as well. Every Friday she has a pasta roundup with all of your wonderful pasta creations. I get so many fantastic ideas from all of you that I have enough recipes to last me 2 life times!! I wasn't able to find orecchiette even at our local Italian market. They had the "little ears" but they were too small. So, I opted for Gomiti instead.

**Jamie Oliver's Baked Pasta with Tomatoes and Mozzarella**
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
extra virgin olive oil
1 white onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
1 or 2 dried red chilies, crumbled
1/5 kg/3-1/4 lb ripe tomatoes or 3 (400 g) cans of good quality plum tomatoes
a large handful of fresh basil leaves
1 T red wine vinegar (optional)
400 g/14 oz dried orecchiette (little ears) or other similar pasta
4 big handfuls of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
3 -150 g balls of fresh mozzarella

Preheat your oven to 400F and pit a large pot of salted water on to boil.

To an appropriately sized pan add a couple of glugs of good quality extra virgin olive oil, your onion, and chili and slowly saute for about 10 minutes on a medium to low heat until softened but without any colour.

If you're using fresh tomatoes, remove the core with the tip of a small knife, plunge them into the boiling water for about 40 seconds until their skins start to come away, then remove with a slotted spoon or sieve and remove then pan from the heat. Put the tomatoes into a bowl and run cold water over them, then slide the skins off, squeeze out the pips and roughly chop. (I'm guessing that the pips are the seeds?)

Add your fresh or tinned tomatoes to the onion and garlic, with a small glass of water. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 20 minutes.

Now put the tomatoes through a food processor or liquidizer to make a loose sauce.

Tear your basil leaves into the sauce and correct the seasoning with salt, pepper and a little swig of red wine vinegar.

When the liquidized sauce tastes perfect, bring the water back to a boil. Add the orecchiette to the water and cook according to the packet directions, then drain and toss with half of the tomato sauce and a handful of Parmesan.

Get yourself an appropriately sized baking dish, pan or earthenware dish and rub it with a little oil. Layer a little pasta in the tray, followed by some tomato sauce, and a handful of grated Parmesan and 1 sliced-up mozzarella ball, then repeat the layers until you've used all the ingredients, ending with a good layer of cheese on top.

Pop it into the preheated oven for 15 minutes or until golden, crisp and bubbling.

Italians seem happy to eat this dish at room temperature or quite cold, but I (Jamie Oliver) prefer to eat it hot.

Serves 4

You are reading this post on More Than Burnt Toast at http://morethanburnttoast.blogspot.com. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author/owner of More Than Burnt Toast. All rights reserved by Valerie Harrison.
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  1. I like Jamie's recipes as well - and this one sounds yummy!
    I agree whole-heartdely about the baking v cooking thing. And cooking can be rescued if you screw it up the first time... with baking, a mistake dooms the result!
    I do bread and cookies at Christmas...maybe...

  2. I have loads of Tomatoes left, I will do this.Looks delicious,thanks Valli!:)

  3. You, you rebel with a cause....go nuts with the garlic and I'll have a big portion of this pasta!

  4. I love baked pastas -yum!! I was just looking at one of Jamie's cookbooks at the bookstore the other day. I don't own any of his, but it is now on my list of cookbooks to buy!

  5. I do agree about Jaimie . I watch him when ever he is in tv.
    Delicious looking dish

  6. So quick and easy and full of ingredients I would have in my pantry. Thanks for sharing.

  7. I agree about Jamie-he's really fun to watch and I like his cooking style

  8. Oh I do adore baked pasta! I love it when the cheese just kind of stretches out when you put your fork to it. This recipe sounds very flavorful and EASY!

  9. I made this recipe before! Very delicious indeed!

  10. I love his recipes. This one sounds pretty hearty and looks great in your photo.

  11. Valli- I just dedicated a recipe to you...it's a potato dish! :)
    Yay for the humble spud.

  12. Thanks very much guys for reading my ramblings and checking out my recipes.
    Yes Deb it is the kind of cheese that stretches when you put your fork into it. That didn't make a pretty picture though unfortunately!
    And Amy you are beyond sweet...having a potato dish dedicated to me!!! I love that. You all have to check out her Tartiflette. It is incredible!!!

  13. Though I prefer to cook savory dishes where you can easily experiment, I am trying to do a bit more baking. Speaking of which, I have not tried a baked pasta dish yet. It looks good.

  14. That looks so good! I have to try it out when I get a chance.

  15. Oh! Baked pasta...with tomatoes...and cheese...I want the whole dish, thank you! :-) This is a very enticing recipe, Valli, thanks for inspiring me to make pasta this evening!

  16. I made this last night...but I used Ziti instead. Sooo good! Leftovers please!

  17. I love Jamie Oliver's food and do think he is an excellent cook/chef.

  18. I love Jamie and his recipes. They're awesome so thanks for sharing this one with Presto Pasta Nights.

  19. Valli- I really love this recipe. I hope you don't mind, but I linked to you in my latest post about baked ziti. Have a great day! :)


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