There are many different Italian baked pasta dishes called pasticcio. This one calls for a rich tomato and beef sauce and creamy béchamel topping. Don't skimp on the parmesan.
- 60 ml extra-virgin olive oil (¼ cup)
- 1 each small onion, small carrot and celery stalk, finely diced
- 60 gm mild pancetta, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 750 gm minced beef
- 130 ml red wine
- 450 ml tomato passata
- 1 tbsp coarsely chopped oregano
- ½ tsp thinly sliced sage (3 leaves)
- 400 gm dried zitoni tagliati (see note)
- For greasing: butter
- For dusting: fine fresh breadcrumbs
- To serve: finely grated parmesan
- 70 gm butter, coarsely chopped
- 70 gm plain flour, sieved
- 700 ml milk
- 80 gm each provolone piccante and parmesan, coarsely grated
- 1Heat half the oil in a large frying pan over high heat. Sauté onion, carrot, celery, pancetta and garlic until tender and starting to caramelise (10-15 minutes), remove from pan and set aside. Add 1 tbsp oil to pan, add half the beef and sauté until browned (3-5 minutes), remove from pan and repeat with remaining oil and beef. Return beef and vegetables to pan, add wine and cook until reduced by one-third (3-5 minutes). Add tomato passata, oregano and sage, and cook over low heat until thickened (20-30 minutes). Set aside.
- 2Preheat oven to 190C. Cook pasta in a large saucepan of boiling salted water until just al dente (5-10 minutes). Drain and refresh under cold running water. Layer in a 2.5-litre-capacity baking dish, buttered and dusted with breadcrumbs, top with beef mixture and refrigerate.
- 3For salsa besciamella, heat butter in a saucepan over medium heat, add flour and stir until sand-coloured (3-5 minutes). Add milk gradually, stirring continuously until incorporated and sauce is smooth (5-10 minutes). Add cheeses, stir until melted, spoon over beef mixture, scatter with extra parmesan and bake until golden and bubbly (30-40 minutes). Serve hot.
Note Zitoni tagliati is a tubular pasta available from select Italian delicatessens. If unavailable, substitute another medium-sized tubular pasta, such as rigatoni.