Paccheri Al Cardinale
Chef and restauranteur Donatella Apraia is making the perfect Valentine's Day pasta dish.

Ingredients for Tomato Sauce

  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 8 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper

Ingredients for Paccheri

  • 1 pound paccheri (SETARO brand if possible please)
  • 1/2 cup grated pecorino
  • 1/2 cup grated smoked mozzarella
  • 20 basil leaves, cut into slivers
  • Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup fresh ricotta (GALBANI BRAND)


To make the tomato sauce:

• Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat until hot but not smoking.

• Add the garlic & sauté about 2 minutes.

• Add the tomatoes & cook, stirring, for 5 minutes.

• Season with salt & pepper.

• Reduce heat to low and simmer, partially covered, about 30 minutes, until thick.

To make the Paccheri:

• Preheat the oven to 450º. Bring large pot of generously salted water to a boil.

• Add the Paccheri & cook according to package instructions

• Add the pecorino, parmigiano, & mozzarella to the thickened tomato sauce & stir until the mozzarella melts.

• Stir in the basil & season to taste with salt and 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.