Pasta alla Formiana is a recipe where the pasta cooks right in the sauce while it bakes, encompassed in fresh tomatoes and seasoned with inordinate amounts of oregano. To truly revel in this dish a deep love for tomatoes and oregano is an absolute requirement.
I love this recipe on so many levels! You don’t have to cook the pasta ahead of time. It only takes a few minutes to throw together to let the oven do all the work for you. I can pick the tomatoes right from my garden.
Not to mention the fact that it’s insanely, insanely, insanely delicious!
Thick-sliced, large tomatoes are lined in a deep-sided casserole dish.
A can of crushed tomatoes pureed with garlic is mixed with the uncooked pasta, oregano and olive oil, then poured into the tomato-lined pan. The crushed tomatoes mix with the fresh juices from the tomatoes and ‘cook’ the pasta. Fresh tomatoes alone don’t have enough liquid to cook it.
More tomatoes are placed over top and drizzled with olive oil before baking for an hour.
Where the magic happens.
The tomatoes intensify to a rich, concentrated flavor and at the same time the oregano is also very pronounced. The two strong flavors really stand up to each other well and complement one another making this so extra-special.
The recipe comes from Giada De Laurentiis and is named for a town in Italy where her aunt first ate the dish.
My family loved it! They lapped it up like starving wolves.
1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Butter an 8 by 8-inch glass baking dish with deep sides. Set aside.
2. Use a food processor or blender to puree the crushed tomatoes and garlic together. Pour into a large bowl and mix in the uncooked pasta, 1/3 cup olive oil, oregano, salt, and pepper. Toss well.
3. Line the bottom and sides of the baking dish with the sliced tomatoes. Pour the pasta mixture into the pan and spread out evenly. Arrange the remaining tomato slices over top, overlapping them and making sure the mixture is completely covered. Drizzle olive oil over top. Bake* until the tomatoes are slightly crispy and the pasta is cooked, 50 minutes to 1 hour. Remove from the oven and cool for 5 minutes before serving with Parmesan cheese and crusty bread.
*You can place a baking sheet on the rack below to catch the bubbling juice drips, although that wasn’t the case with mine, it’s insurance just in case.
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