Emiko Davies’ ‘Ziti al Forno’ Baked Pasta

My mother-in-law Angela’s household’s model of this southern Italian basic was all the time a fairly easy however satisfying one: tomato sauce flavoured with garlic and basil, layered with cheese (scamorza was all the time their favorite, however you can too use mozzarella), and, in fact, ziti: lengthy thick tubes of pasta. However the best way you’ll typically discover it alla Pugliese is with the hearty additions of a lot of little polpettine (hazelnut-sized meatballs), or typically even slices of hard-boiled egg, sausage, prosciutto or mortadella.

I like to stay to the household’s easy model with tomato, basil and scamorza for a weeknight meal.

Ziti Al Forno (Baked Ziti)


Serves 6 

80ml (2 ½  fl oz, ⅓ cup) extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced 
400g (14 oz) tomato passata (puréed tomatoes) 
Handful of contemporary basil leaves 
300g (10 ½ oz) ziti 
250 g (9 oz) scamorza or mozzarella, thinly sliced 
50g (1 ⅓ oz) pecorino, grated 


Deliver a big pot of salted water to the boil. 

Within the meantime, start getting ready a tomato sauce by heating 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a saucepan over a low, light warmth. Add the garlic clove and infuse the oil for a few minutes, then add the passatta and about 250 ml (8 ½ fl oz/1 cup) water. Season with some salt and pepper and produce the sauce to a gentle simmer over a medium warmth. Prepare dinner for 15-20 minutes, or till the sauce has decreased and thickened barely. Simply earlier than taking off the warmth, add about 5-6 basil leaves. Put aside till wanted. 

As soon as the pot of water is boiling, add the ziti (they’re fairly lengthy, so break them in half if essential to suit them within the pot). Prepare dinner till al dente, referring to the packet directions (minus 1 or 2 minutes of cooking time). Drain and toss the ziti with the sauce till nicely coated. 

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). 

To a 20 x 30cm (8 x 12 in) baking dish, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and about 2 tablespoons of the tomato sauce. Now add half the ziti and (if utilizing) scatter over half of the sausage – damaged up into small items and, if you happen to like, rolled into small meatballs – half of the scamorza and half of the pecorino. Repeat with ziti, sausage and cheese, ending with the remaining olive oil. 

Bake for 15-20 minutes, or till you may see the sauce effervescent across the edges and the highest has fashioned a pleasant golden crust. 


That is an edited extract from Tortellini at Midnight by Emiko Davies. Accessible from Hardie Grant Books.