Stuffed standing up paccheri
A very rather simple recipe, which however makes use of a very surprising presentation of the dish. The paccheri standing up, positioned on the baking tray, one next to the other, as if to form a cake.
Several times, on the internet, but also in some restaurants, I happened to see this dish that caught my curiosity and that I couldn't wait to be able to replicate. In this dish, paccheri, one of the typical pasta shapes of Campania, are placed upright in the pan, as if to form a cake. Once arranged, one next to the other, so that they do not fall, the paccheri are then stuffed and finally baked in the oven. Let's see together how to make our standing paccheri.
There are few tips I can give you for this recipe, but surely, the most important one is to choose to use a Gragnano PDO pasta and to give your paccheri a light stamp in salted water, to prevent them from becoming too soft and therefore cannot stand up. On the label of the paccheri I chose, a cooking time of 18 minutes was indicated and I cooked them for about 7-8 minutes. We in Campania use a lot of Fior di Latte di Agerola PDO (very good !!), but you can use mozzarella (also buffalo mozzarella) or stretched curd cheese. The advice, if you use mozzarella, is to buy it the day before and put it in a cola pasta to lose the excess water.
Ingredients for 4 people:
500 gr of Paccheri di Gragnano DOP
400 gr of minced meat
1 Fiordilatte from Agerola
EVO oil to taste
1 Celery Coast
Parmigiano Reggiano DOP
Salt and Pepper To Taste
For the bechamel instead I used
1 liter of milk
Salt to taste
100 gr of flour
100 gr of Butter
Nutmeg to taste
Start by peeling the onion, carrots and celery, cutting them into small cubes that you will need for the "sauté". Once cut, take a large pan, add plenty of oil and also add the chopped onion, carrots and celery and let it brown. Then add the minced meat, cook it for about ten minutes and blend with a glass of white wine. Season with salt and pepper if you like. When the meat is cooked, set it aside and prepare the béchamel.
Let's prepare the bechamel:
Start by melting the butter in a saucepan over a small heat and when it has melted, remove the saucepan from the heat and add the flour gradually and stir, until you get a single mixture. Then add the milk slowly slowly and mix quickly until you have reached a smooth mixture. Be careful that no lumps form. Return your pot to the heat and continue stirring over low heat, until your béchamel comes to a boil. Add salt and nutmeg and when your béchamel has reached the boiling point, cook it for a few more minutes, just to get the density you need. However, since the béchamel will serve you to season the paccheri and not to fill them, I suggest you keep it more liquid, otherwise your paccheri could be "dry".
In the meantime that the minced meat is cooking, we pass the fior di latte (mozzarella) previously cut into pieces to the mixer. Once the minced meat is cooked and cooled, it also passes it to the mixer. In a bowl add it to the mozzarella also add a few tablespoons of bechamel, parmesan and, if you like, some freshly chopped black pepper. Mix everything together to obtain a cream.
Cook the paccheri in boiling salted water, taking care to drain them and cool them halfway through cooking (so very very al dente). Now take an oven pan (round or square) and spread a bottom of bechamel. Fill a few bags with the cream and begin to fill the paccheri by placing them upright in the pan. Proceed like this until you have filled the pan. Once finished, spread a layer of béchamel on top, taking care, where you can, to fill in the spaces between one pacchero and another so as to let the béchamel penetrate. Sprinkle the top with Parmesan cheese and place in the oven for 15/20 minutes at 190 degrees. After 20 minutes, turn on the grill for another 7/10 minutes so as to make the crust on top.