This pasta is al forno is baked pasta with a bolognese ragu sauce, bechamel, mozzarella and parmigiano reggiano. It’s baked until the cheese is melted and everything is delicious. You can’t go wrong with pasta al forno!
Pasta al forno simply means “oven baked pasta” in Italian. The pasta is boiled like you would prepare regular pasta, then it’s mixed with a sauce, layered in a baking dish with cheese, and baked in the oven
There are many versions of pasta al forno – some with hard boiled egg, tiny meatballs and bechamel, and there are countless vegetarian versions – some with eggplant, and various vegetables.
This version uses penne, a rich ragu made with pork and beef, tomatoes, bechamel and melted cheese. They’re classic flavors that make a delicious pasta bake.
Pasta Al Forno
This pasta is al forno is baked pasta with a bolognese ragu sauce, bechamel, mozzarella and parmigiano reggiano. It's baked until the cheese is melted and everything is delicious. You can't go wrong with pasta al forno!
For the sauce
- 3 tbsp olive oil extra virgin
- 1 cup onion diced finely
- 1 cup carrot diced finely
- 1 cup celery diced finely
- 500 grams ground beef
- 500 grams ground pork
- 1/3 cup red wine
- 2 jars tomato passata 680 mL per bottle
- 1 can peeled plum tomatoes 28 oz can, crushed with a fork
- salt and pepper to taste
For the bechamel
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 1/3 cup flour
- 1 litre whole milk
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- salt to taste
For the pasta
- 1 kg penne
- 2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
- 1 cup grated parmigiano reggiano
Make the sauce
Heat olive oil in a heavy bottomed pot on medium heat. Add the onion, celery and carrot. Add salt and pepper, this will allow the vegetables to sweat. Let the vegetables cook until soft, about 10-15 minutes.
Add the meat to the pot and let it brown. Once browned, season with salt and pepper and add the red wine. Let the alcohol evaporate off.
Add the tomatoes, and season with salt and pepper. Cover with the lid for one hour.
Once the hour has passed, remove the lid and cook the sauce for 1 hour to 1 hour 20 minutes. The sauce should still be quite liquid as it will thicken when baked in the oven.
Make the bechamel
In a pan, melt the butter. Add the flour. Once the flour is mixed in, pour in the milk slowly and whisk while pouring it in.
Add nutmeg and salt. Keep whisking until bechamel has thickened. As it reached the boiling point, it will thicken significantly. Keep whisking for an additional 5-10 minutes. This should take about 20-30 minutes total.
Assemble the pasta bake
Cook the pasta in boiling salted water. Make sure it is very al dente when taken out because the pasta will also cook slightly when baked.
Drain the pasta and place it in a large bowl. Add about 3/4 of the sauce and mix well.
Add sauce to the bottom of a large/deep baking dish. Add half the pasta to the dish. Top with half the bechamel, half the mozzarella and half the parmigiano.
Add with remaining pasta, and top with remaining sauce, bechamel, mozzarella, and parmigiano.
Bake at 375F for 30-45 minutes, or until heated through.
Serve and enjoy!
- I used a deep 9×13 inch aluminum baking tray to bake this pasta