In episode 6 of “Around the World with Manu” I joined Italian nonna Adelina in the kitchen at Enoteca Maria. She taught me how to make Paccheri Ripieni, cheese and vegetable filled pasta tubes. I’ve never crumbed pasta before but it adds a bit of a crunch to the outside that pairs perfectly with the soft filling and the al dente vegetables.
Serves 4 – 6
- 20 ml olive oil
- 1 zucchini, cut into 1cm dice
- 1 capsicum, cut into 1cm dice
- 1 eggplant, cut into 1cm dice
- 200 g smoked mozzarella, grated
- 500 g ricotta cheese
- 300 g large pasta tubes, such as rigatoni
- ¼ cup plain flour
- 1 egg, lightly beaten with a little salt and water
- 1 cup dried bread crumbs
- Olive oil and butter for frying
- Large basil leaves and Italian parsley to serve
For the bechamel
- 40 g butter
- 40 g plain flour
- 500 ml whole milk
For the sauce
- Olive oil, for frying
- 1 zucchini, cut into sticks
- 1 capsicum, cut into sticks
- 1 eggplant, cut into sticks
- 1 punnet cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 small handful basil leaves
- Place a large frying pan over a high heat, pour in 20 ml olive oil and when hot add the zucchini, capsicum and eggplant. Cook for 4 – 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until vegetables are tender. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
- Meanwhile, to prepare the béchamel, place the milk in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer then remove from heat. In a second saucepan place the butter and when melted add the flour and whisk for 30 seconds to begin cooking the flour out. Pour in half the warmed milk and whisk vigorously to prevent any lumps, until a smooth sauce forms. Whisk in remaining milk and bring to the boil for a moment. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
- Add the vegetables, béchamel, mozzarella and ricotta to a large bowl and mix to combine. Season with sea salt and pepper to taste and spoon into a piping bag.
- Cook the pasta tubes in a large pot of boiling salted water for 8-10 minutes or until al dente. Drain well and leave until cool enough to handle.
- Fill tubes with ricotta mixture, ensuring there aren’t any air holes. Place flour on a bowl, place egg mixture in a second bowl and breadcrumbs in a third bowl.
- Toss each filled tube in flour, shaking off any excess, then coat in egg wash and toss in breadcrumbs. Repeat with remaining tubes, topping up flour, egg or breadcrumbs if required.
- Heat a large frying pan over a medium-high heat and add equal parts oil and butter, enough to just cover the base. When the butter is foaming add a few pasta tubes and cook for minute or two on each side until lovely and golden brown. Remove from the pan and drain on a paper towel lined plate. Add a little more oil and butter to the pan and repeat to cook remaining pasta tubes.
- For the sauce, heat a large frying pan over a high heat, add a good drizzle of oil and when hot, add vegetable sticks, stirring occasionally until just tender and beginning to take on some colour. Add the tomatoes and a little more oil — this will emulsify with the juice from the tomatoes to make a sauce. Cook for 3 – 4 minutes more, stirring occasionally or until tomatoes have begun to break down. Add a little basil and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- To serve, arrange large pieces of basil onto warm serving plates, top with a generous spoonful of sauce and three pasta tubes per plate. Finish with a good drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of parsley leaves.
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