Baked Vegetarian Ring Shaped Pasta

Anelletti al forno senza Carne

 

Anelletti ‘nfurnati cu’ sucu e milinciani

 

This is a version of the homonymous famous Palermo dish, where the meat ragu’ is replaced with eggplants and tomato sauce. To enhance the taste of this dish a Sicilian ammoghiu, a pesto like mixture of local herbs and spices is blended into it to produce a unique and mouth-watering flavor.

 

SERVES 6 

 

MAKING THE “AMMOGHIU” 

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 2 tablespoons of pine nuts
  • ¼ cup of basil
  • ½ cup of parsley
  • ¼ cup of olive oil
  • ¼ cup of grated pecorino cheese
  • tiny pinch of cinnamon and a hint of cloves (optional)
  • other spices optional
  • salt and pepper to taste

 

Prepare in advance the “Ammoghiu”   as follows: Using a mortar and pestle crush the garlic, basil and parsley, add the pine nuts, any other optional spice(s) and continue crushing. Add the oil and blend it in. Lastly add the cheese and combine everything well.

 

                           Ammoghiu

 

Add salt and pepper to taste. If using a food processor combine all the ingredients except the cheese, which is mixed last after all ingredients are blended.
Store it in a container or a jar, and place in the refrigerator until ready to use.

 

MAKING THE SAUCE 

 

INGREDIENTS

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 large minced onion
  • 1 can tomato paste (6 oz.) diluted in one cup of water
  • 1 can of 28 oz. Italian peeled tomatoes, chopped or blended with its own juice
  • 5 basil leaves
  • Salt and pepper to taste

 

Over a medium heat, in a 6 quart sauce pot combine ¼ cup of olive oil and the onion; sauté until onion is golden about 5 to 7 minutes. 


 

                        Tomato Sauce

 

Add the tomato paste diluted in water and cook it for about 5 minutes.
Mix in the peeled tomatoes and the 5 basil leaves, taste for salt and pepper. 
Lower the flame and simmer for 30 minutes, until sauce is ready.

 

PREPARING THE EGGPLANTS 

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 Italian eggplants- do not peel- cut into round slices, sprinkle with salt and place in colander for 30 minutes
  • 1 cup olive oil for frying

Pat dry the eggplants with a clean dish towel or paper towels.
Fry the cubes in 1 cup of olive oil. Place fried eggplants on paper towels to drain the oil and set aside.

 

                          Fried Eggplants

MAKING OF THE ANELLETTI 

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 lb. Italian ring shaped pasta called “ anelletti “
  • Salt
  • ½ lb. diced or shredded provola or mozzarella cheese
  • ¼ lb. grated caciocavallo or parmesan cheese
  • High sided timbale mold or a baking pan (13X9X2)
  • 1 tablespoon of oil
  • Breadcrumbs to coat the baking pan

 

In a large pot filled with an abundant amount of salted water, cook the ring pasta al dente and reduce the recommended cooking time by 3 minutes.
When pasta is ready, drain, return to the pot where it was cooked, toss pasta with the pesto, half of sauce and half of the grated cheese.
Grease the mold or pan with olive oil and coat with breadcrumbs.
Make the first layer, using about one third of pasta, top it with some provola or mozzarella cheese, one third of the fried eggplants; cover with sauce and sprinkle some grated cheese.


Build a second and third layer, using all the ingredients. Finish top layer with sauce and sprinkle some breadcrumbs on top.
Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes.
If pasta was prepared in advance, bring to room temperature before baking and

if necessary increase baking time accordingly.
Serve with any remaining sauce on the side.

 

Meat Less Anelletti NOTE: 


If you want to use fresh vine ripe tomatoes, prepare as follow: Rinse well 2 ½ lb. of tomatoes and boil for 5 minutes. When cooled to the touch, peel, cut in half, remove seeds and dice.

 

                            BasilTomatoes