Paccheri al Cardinale
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- 8 garlic cloves
- 1 (28-oz) can crushed tomatoes
- 1 lb paccheri or rigatoni
- 1/2 cup grated pecorino
- 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
- 1/2 cup grated smoked mozzarella
- 20 basil leaves, cut into slivers
- 1 cup fresh ricotta
- Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
- To make the tomato sauce: Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat until hot but not smoking. Add the garlic & saute about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes & cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Season with salt & pepper. Reduce the heat to low & simmer, partially covered, about 30 minutes, until thick.
- To make the Paccheri: Preheat the oven to 450°F. Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Add the paccheri & cook until not quite al dente.
- Add the 3 cheeses to the thickened tomato sauce & stir until the mozzarella melts. Stir in the basil. Season to taste with salt & pepper.
- Use a spider to lift the paccheri out of the water & into the sauce. Toss to coat, then transfer to a 4-quart casserole. Cover with parchment paper, tucking it into the sides of the dish. Bake about 20 minutes, until the pasta is piping hot.
- Bring the dish to the table, cut an “X” in the parchment, & gently tear back the points. Spoon some ricotta onto each portion.