Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Pasta alla Formiana

I needed a side dish the other night for dinner and remembered seeing Giada make this on one of her shows.  It seemed like just the right thing, and I had all the ingredients on hand.  Just like a nice small side of spaghetti!  Did I mention that it's pretty quick to throw together?!  I was a little skeptical of pasta being quick but I am so glad I had faith in Giada's Italian roots!  I was also skeptical of the fact that I didn't cook my pasta in boiling water first, but the heat of the sauce in the oven takes care of that for me!  At the end of the day, I wish I'd doctored the sauce just a bit, to add some more flavor (I did add quite a bit more garlic!) along with some basil, but since this was the first time I'd tried this dish, I didn't want to change things up too much.  Play around with it; see what you like.  Don't forget to leave me a comment with any changes or additions you made so I can try your variations the next time I make this!!

cooking spray
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes, with juice
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 (or about 4, in my case) clove(s) garlic, chopped
1 box penne, or other small pasta
1/3 cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling
2 tablespoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
5 extra-large tomatoes, sliced 1/4-inch thick

Place an oven rack in the upper third of the oven.  Preheat to 450.  Spray an 8-inch glass baking dish (or small rectangular casserole) with cooking oil.

In a blender, combine crushed tomatoes and their juice, chicken stock, and garlic.  Pour into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Stir in the pasta, olive oil, oregano, salt, and pepper.

While the sauce is heating, line the bottom and sides of the baking dish with half to two-thirds of the tomato slices.  Pour the pasta mixture into the pan and spread evenly.  Arrange the remaining tomato slices in an overlapping layer on top of the pasta mixture, making sure the mixture is completely covered.  Drizzle with olive oil.

Put the baking dish on a rimmed baking sheet and bake 30 minutes, until the tomatoes are slightly crispy and the pasta is cooked.  Cool five minutes and serve.

Serves 4 to 6.

Recipe adapted from Weeknights with Giada by Giada de Laurentiis.

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