Sunday, December 31, 2006

Cookbook Recipe: Rigitoni al Forno

For Christmas Eve I made Nigella Lawson's Rigitoni al Forno, from her Feast cookbook. The cookbook itself is glorious, with Nigella's wonderful voice making it a great read. However, I found that many of her recipes turn out flat. I used her recipes for baked potatoes and yorkshire pudding for Christmas dinner, and we were all disappointed with them. Of course, I didn't have the required two cups of goose fat for the potatoes, so my substitution might have been a large part of the problem.

As for the rigitoni: since it was a recipe for 16 and we were only 5, I reduced the recipe, which wasn't hard. It originally called for 3 pounds of rigitoni and 3 pounds, 4 oz of ground beef, so I just reduced everything to 1/3-- one pound of rigitoni and one pound 1.5 oz of beef.

I did increase the amount of bechamel sauce from 1/3 to 2/3 of the recipe, due only to bad math. And in the end, it needed it!

This was the MEATIEST pasta dish ever. It was supposed to be a take on lasagna--but boy, it was saucy ground beef with some pasta noodles. In the end I had lots of meat leftover because I'd had to pick out all the pasta to serve it round.

Also, the recipe calls for cooking the meat sauce for two hours. If there were other meats in this ragu that would be called for, but I think 30-40 minutes is more than enough.

Finally, she mixes the rigitoni first with the bechamel to coat it, then adds the meat sauce. If you stir it too much it gets gray and looks like something the dog threw up.

In the end, this was a good concept that needs some tweaking to be a 100% success.

1 comment:

Bon Vivant said...

I too prefer more pasta than sauce but your dish still really looks good!

I made a bolognese sauce from one of Giuliano's cookbooks for Xmas dinner and it had to cook a really long time but the result was worth it - I think that the flavors blended well and the texture was more authentic.