Playing How to Make Alan Alda's Favorite Pasta Bake: Maccheroni all’Ultima Moda 1841 alla Napoletana

This recipe sounds fancy but is really easy (only 3 ingredients plus EVOO, salt & pepper!). It comes from the 1989 cookbook Classic Techniques of Italian Cooking and uses a technique of soaking dried pasta in olive oil before baking.

“I learned this recipe in an interesting way. On my 50th birthday, my wife Arlene took me and a few friends to Florence to take cooking lessons from Giuilano Bugiali,” Alan says. “It was wonderful. All morning long you cook and drink wine.”

PS: In case you were wondering, the name Maccheroni “all’Ultima Moda 1841" alla Napoletana translates to “pasta in the latest style Naples 1841.”

Adapted from Classic Techniques of Italian Cooking by Giuilano Bugiali. Copyright © 1989 by Giuilano Bugiali. Used with permission by Fireside. All rights reserved.

Ingredients
  • ¾ cup olive oil
  • 1 pound any short tubular pasta, preferably imported Italian
  • Three 28-ounce cans imported Italian tomatoes, including the juice, or 5 pounds very ripe summer tomatoes, sliced ½-inch-thick
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Yield
Serves: 4 to 6
Preparation

Pour olive oil into a bowl. Add pasta and mix well. Let pasta soak in oil for about 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400˚F.

If using canned tomatoes, add to the bowl with pasta with their juice along with salt and pepper to taste. Mix well, then transfer to a 14-inch-long glass baking dish. If using fresh tomatoes, alternate layers of tomatoes and pasta in the baking dish with tomatoes as top and bottom layers.

Bake for about 45 minutes, mixing two or three times if using the canned tomatoes, or leaving the pasta undisturbed if using fresh tomatoes. Remove the casserole from the oven and sprinkle the cheese on top.

Mix well and then transfer to a serving dish. Serve immediately without adding extra cheese.