Baked Pasta 101


The magic of baked pasta is in its variations. Sometimes its inspired by the seasons, maybe what you grew in your own garden. Other times it’s simply a matter of practicality, as in what do you have on hand. Some of the best baked pasta dishes come from a little adventure and risk-taking (and often a nice helping of some sort of leftovers from the night before).

A History of Baked Goodness

Oven-baked pasta has a long, long history… we mean Middle Ages kind of history. A pasta meal was an opportunity for a chef to show off his creativity and resourcefulness. Eventually baked pasta, or pasta al forno, was adopted all over Italy. Today, baked pasta is a staple dish of Southern Italy, where it’s usually made on Sundays, holidays and special occasions. They like to call it piatto unico—one serving as a complete meal with protein, carbs, veggies and dairy.

Like the food philosophy of many domestic chefs, a lot of what goes into baked pasta depends on what’s in the refrigerator or pantry. Much of Italy’s cuisine does depend on regional foods and traditions too.

Northern Italy is all about heartier ingredients. Hey, it gets cold up there! Butter, pork fat, heavy starches and meaty ragùs reign. In Southern Italy, baked pasta dishes are usually loaded up with vegetables (like eggplant and peppers), as well as meats cured in the region (sopressata, prosciutto and sausages).

Some Baked Pasta Tips

Some of Our Favorite Baked Pasta Recipes

  • Eggplant Parmesan Baked Ziti
    Eggplant Parmesan Baked Ziti