Use fresh summer tomatoes for this tasty basked pasta dish from Béatrice Peltre's cookbook My French Family Table.
- 2 slices toasted bread
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- 3/4 cup grated Parmesan, divided
- 12 oz rigatoni pasta
- 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 1/4 red onion, chopped
- 3 sprigs fresh oregano
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 carrot, peeled and grated
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 1 lb tomatoes, diced, plus 1 tomato, sliced
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 1/2 tsp brown sugar
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese
- 3 tbsp finely chopped fresh basil leaves
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 4 1/2 oz mozzarella cheese, diced
- Ground nutmeg to finish
1 Place the toast and parsley in the bowl of a food processor and pulse into fine crumbs. Transfer to a bowl and combine with 1/4 cup of the Parmesan; set aside.
2 Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water according to the package directions. Drain and set aside.
3 Preheat the oven to 400°F. Brush the baking dish with olive oil; set aside.
4 In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, oregano and thyme; cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, without browning. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the carrot and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for another minute. Add the wine and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, bay leaf and brown sugar and season with salt and pepper; cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Uncover and cook for another 5 minutes, or until the sauce is slightly reduced. Discard the oregano, thyme and bay leaf.
5 Transfer the sauce to the bowl of a food processor, add the ricotta and purée until smooth.
6 In a large bowl, toss the pasta with the sauce, basil, pine nuts and remaining Parmesan.
7 Transfer to the prepared baking dish, scatter with the mozzarella and sliced tomato and top with the breadcrumb mixture; add a drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle with the nutmeg.
8 Bake the gratin for 30 minutes, or until lightly golden and crispy.
9 Serve immediately.
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Excerpted from My French Family Table by Béatrice Peltre. Recipes Copyright © 2016 Béatrice Peltre, Photography copyright © 2016 Béatrice Peltre. Excerpted by permission of Roost Books. All rights reserved.