The secret to a better pasta? Bake it, don’t cook it


3688e62ffd6a554b867c615fcc501e62 The secret to a better pasta? Bake it, don't cook it

This Jan. 11, 2016 exposure shows baked penne food with proscuitto and fontina cheeseflower in Concord, N.H. This dish is from a technique by Sara Moulton. (AP Photo/Gospel Mead)

If there’s anything extra comforting than boiled food in a sauce, it’s got to be baked pasta in a dressing. The baking adds a crispy impudence that is such a delicious juxtapose to the tender goodness of the dish.

The remonstrance is how to get the pasta to turn out just fitting. Most baked pasta formula instruct you to boil the noodles until baked halfway before baking them. This grant the pasta to finish cooking in the oven as it bathes in the relish. But this method has challenges. If you bubble the noodles more than almost, they’ll be overcooked by the time you lug the finished dish out of the oven. I get it hard to get the precooking time good.

And precooking the pasta, even center, takes work and dirties a enormous pot and colander. Then again, if you don’t precook the food and instead add it dry to the sauce for baking, it Testament take much longer to change into tender in the oven, even as it absorbs all the solution in the sauce. Dry pasta needs to hydrate.

So what’s a down home cook to do? Use my simple no-cook mechanism of precooking the pasta. Just immerse the pasta in warm salted flood before adding it to the other constituent and sliding the mixture into the oven. Presoaking is a way to enter on hydrating the pasta and washing departed some of its starch, even as the bite in the water pre-seasons the pasta.

Yes, you’ll stain a bowl, but given that that’s the duplicate vessel in which you’ll combine all the mantrap’s ingredients, it’s the only bowl you’ll pauperism. The soak requires 45 before you can say ‘Jack Robinson’, but it’s hands-off time, freeing you to preparation the rest of the ingredients. Then it grips no time at all to assemble the dish and pop it into the oven.

Scarce 20 or so minutes later you can hoard your reward: deeply

baked pasta, creamy on the bum and crispy on top. Add a salad and some curmudgeonly bread and be happy.



First step to finish: 1 hour 15 moment (20 minutes active)

Servings: 6

1 quid penne pasta

Kosher vigour

Butter, for coating the baking pan

2 teaspoons minced ail

1 cup heavy cream

2 cups low-na chicken broth

1 cup crushed tomatoes

1 to 2 teaspoons red peppercorn flakes, to taste (optional)

1 1/2 ounces fine grated Parmesan cheese

4 ounces coarsely grated fontina cheeseflower

4 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, shredded

In a large bowl, combine the food with enough lukewarm, swell-salted water to cover. Let be upstanding for 45 minutes.

Heat the oven to 450 F. Light butter a shallow baking lulu (12-cup capacity with 2 to 2 1/2-edge sides).

Drain the pasta and set divagation. In the same bowl, combine all unexpended ingredients, stirring well. Add the food, toss to combine, then occasion with a pinch of salt. Transference the mixture to the prepared baking saucer, pressing it down evenly. Broil on the oven’s middle shelf until foaming and browned, 20 to 22 split second.

Nutrition information per serving: 590 calories; 240 calories from fat (41

per centime
of total calories); 27 g fat (15 g concentrated; 0.5 g trans fats); 100 mg cholesterin; 1060 mg sodium; 63 g saccharide; 3 g fiber; 5 g bread; 24 g protein.


Sara Moulton is landlady of public television’s "Sara’s Weeknight Food." She was executive chef at Lucullus magazine for nearly 25 caducity and spent a decade hosting assorted Food Network shows, including "Cookery Live." Her latest reference is "Home Cooking 101."