Bauletti – or lasagna parcels in a tomato bechamel sauce

Bauletti means little chests or trunks in Italian. And this pasta dish is like mini lasagne all baked together in a tomato flavoured white sauce. It’s deliciously moreish. The dish comes from the Ascoli Piceno region of central Italy and this is how Katia makes it.

Make some béchamel sauce as explained here. Then stir in 150ml of tomato passata. Keep warm.

Bauletti filling:

200g pork mince
1 small onion, minced
1 carrot, diced
1 celery stick, chopped
400g cows milk ricotta
30g spinach, cooked, squeezed dry and chopped
25g Parmigiano reggiano
150g or so of grated cheese like fontina or emmental

Method:

Pre heat the oven to 180C/gas mark 4
Fry pork mince in a little olive oil with the onion, carrot and celery. When cooked, let it cool and then blitz it with the ricotta (make sure it’s well drained) spinach and Parmigiano Reggiano. It should be squishy but not soggy.

Pasta: make or buy some fresh lasagne sheets. You will need 12 squares measuring 15 x 15 cms. Cook them in boiling water and then plunge them into a bowl of cold water.

Spread them out on your counter and dry them off with a tea towel

To assemble the bauletti: watch Katia’s video.
Smear a little tomato sauce in the middle of the pasta square, followed by a knob of filling and a pinch of the grated, melting cheese. Fold two sides pasta over each the filling and each other to form an roll shape (a bit like a cannelloni) and then tuck the ends under to form a square envelope shape.

Place each one snugly into a gratin dish which can accommodate the 12 parcels in one layer.Finish with more tomato sauce and more cheese and bake the pasta for 35-40 minutes until it’s the colour of a stormy sunset and bubbling furiously.

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