Pasta Ricotta and Cauliflower
al Forno con Ricotta e Cavolfiore”)
(“Pasta incasciata a Siracusana”)
This dish is very easy to make and it is ideal when you have guests because it can be prepared in advance. It
has a beautiful presentation and most importantly has a fine taste.
It is called 'ncasciata, meaning in set in a case, because is set into a pan to be baked.
Originally this recipe was a specialty made in Syracuse, but because of the easiness to prepare it using very few
ingredients with outstanding results, it became popular all over Sicily. Today every city and every town claims
this recipe as their own and it is always a good argument over a glass of good wine!...
SERVES 4 TO 6
lb. short pasta like penne rigate or any other cut you prefer
cauliflower, about 2 lb. Wash, remove outer leaves and hard stems and cut in small pieces.
½ lb. ricotta
lb. grated cheese
cup of olive oil
coated with oil about 12X10X 3 inches
In a large pot, bring enough salted water to a boil to cook pasta, following manufacturer recommendations. We
suggest using 6 quarts of water and 2 tablespoons of salt for every pound of pasta.
When water boils add the cauliflower florets. Blanch them briefly, using a perforated spoon remove the
florets from the water, drain well and return the water to a boil.
Pour olive oil in a skillet and at a high heat sauté cauliflower a few minutes.
Cook pasta in the water used to boil the cauliflower and cook it al dente, 3 minutes less than directions on
At the same time, in a large bowl combine the ricotta with enough of the water that the pasta is cooking in to give
it the consistency of yogurt.
Drain pasta and reserve some water.
Toss the pasta in the bowl with ricotta, some cheese, pepper and mix it well.
Taste for salt. If pasta is too dry, add some of the reserved water.
Arrange in the baking dish placing a layer of pasta and ricotta, sprinkle some cheese and follow by a layer of
cauliflower’s florets. Repeat the procedure making 2 or 3 layers.
Beat eggs, mix in it the left over cheese and pour over pasta.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until eggs are cooked to a golden brown. If prepared in advance cover with
eggs at the last minute.
If covering the pasta with eggs does not appeal to you, substitute it
with a mixture of 1 cup of milk combined with ½ lb ricotta. Sprinkle with a mixture of a tablespoon of grated
cheese, and a tablespoon of toasted bread crumbs.