Mains

Ziti al Forno

Time: 1 hour 7 minutes in the Thermomix; 20 minutes shaping meatballs; 8–10 minutes boiling pasta; 1 hour–1 hour 15 minutes baking
Yield: 8–10
MEATBALLS
50 grams Parmesan or Pecorino, cubed
60 grams stale bread, cubed
1 garlic clove
5 sprigs parsley, leaves only
450 grams minced beef (or a combination of minced beef and pork)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon cracked black pepper
2 tablespoons (30 grams) olive oil
SUNDAY GRAVY
2 tablespoons (30 grams) olive oil
350 grams Italian style plain or fennel pork sausages, roughly sliced into 2-centimetre pieces
4 garlic cloves
40 grams tomato paste
2 x 400-gram cans crushed tomatoes
200 grams water
sea salt and cracked black pepper
2 sprigs basil, leaves only, torn into small pieces
ZITI AL FORNO
400 grams dry ziti macaroni pasta (or penne/macaroni if you can’t find ziti)
1 teaspoon sea salt
100 grams Parmesan or Pecorino cheese, cubed
120 grams ricotta cheese
200 grams mozzarella, cubed
Method
  1. Start by grating the cheeses for the final dish to have ready for assembling. Place the cubed mozzarella into a clean and dry mixing bowl and grate 8 seconds/ speed 7, set aside. Then place the 150 grams Parmesan/Pecorino (100 grams for the ziti and 50 grams for the meatballs) and grate 10 seconds/speed 10, set aside in a separate bowl.
  2. For the meatballs, without washing the bowl, place the bread into the mixing bowl and turn to breadcrumbs 10 seconds/speed 10, set aside.
  3. Without washing the bowl, mince the garlic and parsley 3 seconds/speed 7. Add the minced meat, eggs, 50 grams of the reserved grated Parmesan/Pecorino cheese and breadcrumbs, salt and pepper and mix 10 seconds/reverse/speed 4.
  4. Lightly dampen your hands and shape the mixture into meatballs the size of a small grape.
  5. Heat the olive oil in a heavy-base skillet, add the meatballs and brown them on all sides quickly. They will finish cooking later in the sauce. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
  6. To make the Sunday gravy, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a heavy-based skillet and brown the sausages until barely cooked. Set aside.
  7. Place the remaining tablespoon of oil in the mixing bowl and cook 2 minutes/Varoma/speed 1.
  8. Add the whole garlic cloves and saute 3 minutes/Varoma/speed 1 with no measuring cup. Remove and discard the garlic cloves, add the tomato paste then cook 1 minute/Varoma/speed 1.
  9. Add canned tomatoes, water, the browned sausages, season with salt and pepper to taste then cook 45 minutes/98 degrees/Reverse/speed soft (100 degrees for TM31) simmering basket in place of the measuring cup. Insert the simmering basket and place the browned meatballs in it. Cook 15 minutes/100 degrees/Reverse/speed soft.
  10. Meanwhile, boil the pasta in a large pot with the salt, to just al dente, drain, run under cold water and set aside in a colander until needed.
  11. Once the sauce is cooked, lift the simmering basket using the spatula, put the meatballs into the sauce, add the torn basil and mix using the spatula.
  12. Preheat oven to 180C.
  13. To assemble, spoon half the pasta into a 3–3.5 litre baking pan such as a lasagne dish, spread the ricotta over and sprinkle the grated mozzarella and half of the grated Parmesan/Pecorino. Pour over half the Sunday gravy and tiny meatballs followed by another layer with the remaining pasta, then the second half of the sauce and meatballs and finish with a layer of the remaining grated Parmesan/Pecorino. Cover the dish with foil (the ziti can be refrigerated for several hours/overnight at this point, just remove from the fridge 30 minutes prior to baking) and bake for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake for a further 15–30 minutes or until the centre is piping hot and the sauce is bubbling around the edges. Cover and rest for 15 minutes before serving.

AND… This is a TM5 recipe. For the TM31 you may need to reduce the quantities by 10 to 20 per cent. The shaping of the tiny meatballs is a time-consuming affair (about 20 minutes); we suggest setting the mix aside, cleaning and drying the mixing bowl and proceeding to start the cooking of the Sunday gravy. You will have 45 minutes cooking time to shape and brown your meatballs then.

2 Comments

Tw30's picture
Tw30 3 months 5 days ago

Fantastic recipe for the family and even better that you can make it in advance. Will try a touch of dry chilli flakes in the gravy next time.

TMixPlus Team's picture
TMixPlus Team 3 months 5 days ago

Thanks for your feedback Tw30 . We're so glad you and the family enjoyed.

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