Food that nourish the body and soul.In Italy it differs with the regions.
I was volunteering for 6 months in Puglia, the South of Italyand hosted by the most adorable couple, Gianni and Graziella.
Graziella happens to be one of the most amazing cooks I've ever met.And trust me, I've been in the food business for a long time.
Cooking is her passion and her husband keeps a large organic veggie gardenwere we picked most of the fresh produce needed for her fantastic meals.
If I try to reproduce one of her meal with the sad tomatoes that I find at the grocery store this days it will probably taste like ...water (if I'm lucky)
Comfort food is a nostalgic element, and this baked pasta dish bring back memoriesof my great journey in Puglia this past winter.
Baked Pasta Puglia Style :
400 grs. rigatoni
120 grs. sausage
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 Tbs. basil, chopped
200 g ground beef
200 g tomatoes, diced
100 g bread
50 g milk
200 grams mozzarella
100 g mortadella
extra virgin olive oil
In a pan with olive oil, place onion, basil, tomatoes, salt and cook over medium heat for about 20 minutes.
Mean while shred the sausage, chopped the mortadella and set aside.
Mix the ground meat with bread soaked in milk, sausage and a pinch of salt and make some small meatballs.
Cut eggplant into strips and fry in a pan with olive oil.
Cut the mozzarella into pieces.
Cook the rigatoni in salted water, al dente and strain.
In a greased baking dish put a layer of rigatoni and cover with half of all ingredients including meatballs, add a second layer with the remaining rigatoni and finish the rest of the ingredients.
Bake at 200 degrees for twenty minutes.