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Pasta al Forno



For the Tomato Sauce

  • 2 tbsps olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsps. tomato paste
  • 3 L tomato puree, (seedless)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper.

For the Meat Balls

  • 1 lb ground veal
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • ½ cup bread crumbs, plain
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup parsley, finely chopped
  • 3 eggs
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper.

For the Eggplant

  • 2 eggplants, peeled, sliced ¼ inch thick
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (add pinch of salt/pepper)
  • 3 eggs + 1 tbsp. water, lightly beaten (add pinch of salt/pepper)
  • 3 tbsps. vegetable oil
  • Pinch of salt and pepper.

Putting it all Together

  • 2 lbs of penne lisce (2 packs), half cooked, drained in colander
  • 1 mozzarella, grated
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated


Prepare the sauce

  1. Heat a large pot, add olive oil and sauté onion and garlic until onions are translucent, approx. 4 minutes.
  2. Add tomato paste and mix well. Cook for about 30 seconds to develop the rich tomato flavour.
  3. Add tomato puree, salt and pepper.
  4. Cook for about 1 hour stirring occasionally.

Prepare the meatballs

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F
  2. In a large bowl, mix the veal and pork with your hands to combine.
  3. Add bread crumbs, cheese, parsley, eggs, water, salt and pepper.
  4. Mix with your hands until all ingredients are well combined.
  5. Form into small meatballs then place on a greased or parchment lined baking sheet.
  6. Bake in oven for about 20 minutes or until lightly golden and cooked through.

Prepare the eggplant

  1. Peel, and slice the eggplant.
  2. Set up a production line → 1 bowl for flour, 1 bowl for whisked eggs, flat plate for coated eggplant.
  3. Begin coating eggplant one piece at a time in flour, dip into egg mixture then transfer to the flat plate.
  4. Once all the eggplant slices are coated, heat a large sauté pan and add oil. Once the oil is hot, begin lightly frying eggplant until golden on each side.
  5. Set aside.

Putting it altogether

  1. Preheat oven to 350 ᵒF
  2. Add the half cooked pasta back to the empty pot it was boiling in, toss with ½ cup tomato sauce to prevent sticking.
  3. Layer the pasta in this order: tomato sauce at the bottom, pasta, eggplant, meat balls, sauce, mozzarella, Parmesan, more sauce. Repeat. The top layer should only have tomato sauce, a few meat balls and Parmesan cheese.
  4. Cover with foil paper.
  5. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes at 350 ᵒF.
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