Pasta alla Formiana, from the town of Formia in the coastal Lazio region of Italy (halfway between Naples and Rome), is a dish my aunt Raffy and I had once. The recipe is a surprise – because it doesn’t require that the pasta be boiled before baking. Yup, that’s right, it goes into the oven raw! I know it sounds crazy, but it works.
The pasta absorbs a flavorful blend of tomatoes, olive oil, garlic and oregano over time, which gives it tons of great flavor. This is a fabulous way to use up a bounty of large, ripe tomatoes – they get incredibly sweet and delicious in the oven.
Pasta Alla Formiana
- Oil, for greasing dish
- 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 1 clove garlic, coarsely chopped
- 1/2 pound (8 ounces) short pasta, such as Eliche Grande
- 1/3 cup olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
- 2 tablespoons dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 4 to 5 very ripe extra-large or beefsteak tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
- Place an oven rack in the upper third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Spray an 8-inch square baking dish with vegetable or olive oil.
- In a food processor, blend together the crushed tomatoes and garlic. Add the 1/3 cup olive oil, oregano, salt, and pepper and mix until combined.
- Line the bottom and sides of the baking dish with tomato slices. Pour the tomato mixture into the pan and spread evenly. Sprinkle in the uncooked pasta, and arrange to ensure each piece of pasta is coated in sauce. Arrange the remaining tomato slices in an overlapping layer on top of the pasta mixture, making sure the mixture is completely covered. Drizzle with olive oil. Bake until the tomatoes are slightly crispy and the pasta is cooked, about 30 - 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool for 5 minutes before serving.