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Recipe: Rigatoni Al Forno from Cape Town's Scarpetta Restaurant

The ‘al forno’ in a pasta al forno means your pasta will be baked in an oven. This recipe from Scarpetta is as close to Italy as you can get

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By House & Garden South Africa | October 8, 2023 | Recipes

A humble family recipe that brings each ingredient to life. I chose to share this recipe for nostalgic reasons. This pasta dish gently encompasses the true essence of Italian cuisine. Making use of the best ingredients you can find as the dish is honest and simple.

“I have fond memories of eating in Rieti, the small town close to Rome with my late father Lello. Sipping on Italian red wine made by the farm across the road and a hunk of bread always close by,” recalls Ricky, ‘the Big Boss’ at Lello’s Deli, a family-run Italian institution in Cape Town.

Ricky, aka ‘the Big Boss’ at Scarpetta with a real bowl of Italian pasta. Image: Samantha Pinto.

Ingredients to make Rigatoni al forno

500g of the Big Boss’s bolognese available at Lello’s Deli

500g rigatoni al bronzo (bronze cut)

1 ball of fresh fior di latte (fresh mozzarella), finely chopped

200g parmigiano reggiano, finely grated


1. Heat oven to 200℃

2. Cook the pasta in heavily salted water until al dente, as per the package instructions.

3. In a deep heavy based pan, heat the sauce until bubbling around the edges. Add the al dente pasta to the soulful bolognese and mix until the sauce has coated each tube of rigatoni.

4, Sprinkle in half of the fior di latte and parmigiano reggiano and gently fold in. The cheese will go oozy and melt instantly.

5. Tip into a baking dish and top with the rest of the cheese.

6. Bake for 15 minutes, until the cheese is bubbling and golden.

7. Serve with a hunk of fresh ciabatta and some extra parmigiano reggiano for good measure!

Tip: Make this dish vegetarian by using Napolitana sauce. This is the perfect hearty meal to share with friends.