|Rigatoni & Chicken Al Forno
3/4 pound imported Rigatoni or Penne Rigate pasta
6 TBS extra virgin olive oil; as needed, separated
1/2 sweet onion, slivered
2 cloves garlic, sliced
3-4 oz pancetta, minced (or ham, optional)
1/2 glass of wine or vermouth
14 oz canned Italian San Marzano tomatoes, chopped
fresh herbs to taste – sage, oregano, thyme
pinches of crushed red pepper (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup minced fresh Italian parsley
2 cups torn or cubed leftover chicken
Parmigiano-Reggiano, Locatelli Romano or Grana Padana cheese, grated
Preheat oven to 425°. Boil the pasta in a large pot with plenty of salted water according to package directions, cook to al dente and reserve 1 cup of the pasta water.
Meanwhile preheat a large heavy skillet over medium to medium high heat. Add 4 TBS oil, onions, and garlic and sauté quickly to soften, add pancetta and fry to brown lightly. Splash with wine and deglaze pan as needed, and then add tomatoes, herbs, red pepper, and pinches of salt and pepper. Simmer to reduce and marry flavors, taste and adjust with salt, pepper and fine olive oil.
Drain pasta and toss with sauce, adding reserved pasta water as needed (firm pasta and a little extra water makes for the best texture.) Toss in chicken and parsley.
Spray or brush ceramic pan(s) with oil and fill with pasta medley. In a small bowl, blend 1 part dry breadcrumbs with 1 part of grated cheese, toss and drizzle with enough oil to moisten; sprinkle lightly or heavily over the top of pasta. Roast until brown and sizzling, rest 5-10 minutes and serve with a tossed salad and rustic bread. – Chef Michaelangelo (mick) Rosacci, www.TonysMarket.com -- www.TonyRosacciCatering.com
Ricotta Variation: Blend 1/2-pound ricotta with 1 beaten egg yolk and a 4 oz shredded fontina. Pour half of the pasta into the roasting pan, add spoonfuls of cheese randomly over the dish and remaining pasta medley and continue recipe.