Rigatoni with basil and tomatoes

Somebody was asking for vegan recipes on one of the forums I visit. She is due for a visit from her daughter-in-law and was stuck for ideas. My first thought was ‘Easy! Most of the recipes on the blog are vegan.’ .¬†On closer inspection, however, I realised none of them are ūüôā Vegans eat cheese, don’t they? ūüėČ I asked around my Italian friends, and after much explanation of the concept of veganism, I came up with this recipe. Baking the dish concentrates the flavour of the¬†tomatoes wonderfully. If you’re cooking it for a strict vegan, check that the bread crumbs¬†don’t contain any milk.¬†¬†¬†Serves 6

rigatoni with basil ingredients

  300 grams  rigatoni
¬† 1¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†kilogram¬† top quality tomatoes — sliced
¬† 1¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†large bunch of basil — chopped
  1      tablespoon  bread crumbs
          olive oil

  • Cook the rigatoni in salted water. Drain and dress with plenty of olive
    oil, half the basil, and the bread crumbs.
  • Put a layer of the tomatoes in an oiled oven proof dish
  • Top with some basil, a drizzel of oil, a little salt, and a layer of
    rigatoni.
  • Repeat until all the ingredients have been used up. Finish with a layer of
    tomatoes.
  • Bake in a medium oven for about 45 minutes
  • Serve hot.

rigatoni with basil and tomatoes finished dish

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Rigatoni baked with aubergines and meatballs

After yesterday’s simple recipe,¬†I’m going to the other extreme today. This takes quite a while to assemble but is worth it in the end. Real Italian ‘comfort food’¬†¬†ūüėČ

Serves 4

  • ¬†500 g Rigatoni
  • 1 Aubergine
  • Olive Oil
  • 100g Provola cheese
  • 1 Mozzarella
  • 100 g Cooked ham
  • 400 ml Tomato sauce (if you have time, make your own. As you can see from the pic, I cheated.)
  • 100 g Grated Parmesan or Grana Padano

For the meatballs

  • 450 g Minced beef
  • 25 g White breadcrumbs
  • 1 Egg
  • 15g Grated parmesan
  • Parsley, chopped
  • 1 Clove garlic, finely chopped
  • White pepper
  • Heat the oven to 180¬įC
  • Make the meatballs by mixing all the ingredients and forming small balls with the mixture.
  • Rigatoni with aubergines and meatballs

    Rigatoni with aubergines and meatballs

  • ¬†Boil the rigatoni in salted water until cooked. Drain. Cut the aubergine into slices 1cm thick. Grill until soft.
  • Grate the provola, slice the mozzarella, chop the ham.
  • In a baking dish put a layer of rigatoni. Place in order a layer of aubergine and then a few meatballs. Cover with tomato sauce, cheeses and ham. Repeat until all the ingredients are used up. Scatter grated Parmesan over the surface.
  • Bake for about 25-35 minutes until the mixture is bubbling and the top is golden.
Rigatoni with aubergines and meatballs

Rigatoni with aubergines and meatballs

This is adapted from a recipe collected by Matthew Fort in his book Eating Up Italy(excellent foodie porn). The original included sliced hardboiled eggs and he fried the aubergines. I didn’t think my arteries could cope with that ūüôā