A vegetarian pasta dish that is deliciously baked to perfection, Pasta alla Sorrentina is excellent as a side dish or as a meal on its own — you’ll surely ask for seconds!
(*This post contains some affiliate links)
This oven-baked version of a traditional pasta dish from Sorrento is excellent for those times when you are craving some light, comfort food.
Tomatoes with a hint of garlic and basil — that’s how simple the sauce is for pasta alla sorrentina.
You combine it with your favorite pasta, top with Parmigiano Reggiano and mozzarella, and wait until the cheese melts … simply delicious!
IF YOU WANT MORE TRADITIONAL ITALIAN DISHES, THEN YOU WILL LIKE THESE POSTS!
- Pasta – I generally use penne when making sorrentina pasta, but any tubular type of pasta will be excellent.
- Basil – I strongly suggest using fresh basil for making this traditional pasta dish.
- Parmigiano Reggiano – grated for adding into the pasta, or you can also sprinkle some more when serving.
- Mozzarella – buffalo and cow milk-based mozzarella are great; make sure you drain them first.
- Garlic – remove the skin, keep them whole.
- Salt – for seasoning the sauce and cooking your preferred pasta.
- Olive oil – use extra virgin olive oil, if possible.
- Passata – also called tomato puree in some parts of the world and is the base of your sorrentina sauce.
Start with the sorrentina sauce preparation by placing a medium or large pan over medium heat.
Add olive oil.
Once the oil is ready, add the garlic (photo 1).
Fry it for about two to three minutes, or until you see its color starting to turn golden.
Pour the passata and stir to combine.
Add salt and torn basil leaves (photo 2).
Mix everything to combine, cover with a lid and let your sorrentina sauce simmer for at least thirty minutes.
Prepare your preferred pasta by boiling salted water and cooking the pasta according to its package instruction (photo 3).
When the pasta is almost ready, preheat your oven to 230°C (440 to 450°F).
Take the sorrentina sauce out of the heat, and add the drained, cooked pasta (photo 4).
Mix to combine the pasta and the sauce evenly.
Transfer about half of the sorrentina pasta into a baking dish and arrange it as a thin layer.
Sprinkle grated parmigiano Reggiano and place some sliced mozzarella on top (photo 5).
Add the remaining pasta into the baking dish.
Sprinkle with the remaining parmigiano and arrange the remaining slices of mozzarella as well (photo 6).
Place your sorrentina pasta in the middle part of the preheated oven for five to eight minutes or until the mozzarella melts.
Remove from the oven and set aside for at least ten minutes.
Your penne alla sorrentina is now ready for serving!
- Make sure you keep the garlic whole. It makes it easier to pick up after simmering the sorrentina sauce.
- Use your hands to tear the basil. The aroma and flavors are released better this way instead of chopping or cutting.
- Keep tasting and adjusting the seasoning of the sorrentina sauce while it’s simmering.
You can prepare the sorrentina sauce in advance and heat it when you are ready to combine it with the pasta.
Or you can assemble in the baking dish a few hours earlier, cover it with plastic and refrigerate until you are ready to place it in the oven.
If you want to store the leftovers longer, yes, placing them in the freezer is an excellent option.
Place it in an airtight, freezer-free container and cover it with aluminum foil when reheating in the oven.
See how easy it is to prepare pasta alla sorrentina? So, give it a try one of these days!
Pasta alla Sorrentina Recipe
- Chopping Board
- Kitchen Knife
- Pyrex Measuring Cups
- Rubber Spatula
- 11 ounces pasta (about 310 to 315 grams)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 cups passata (500 ml)
- 2 cloves garlic (or 1 large clove), whole
- 8 to 10 ounces mozzarella (250 grams), drained & sliced into rounds
- 2/3 cup parmigiano Reggiano, grated
- handful of basil leaves
- salt, to season
Preparing sorrentina sauce:
- Place a medium or large pan over medium heat, then add olive oil.
- Once the oil is ready, add the peeled garlic.
- Fry it for about 2 to 3 minutes, or until its color starts to turn golden.
- Pour the passata and stir to combine.
- Add salt and basil leaves, then mix.
- Cover with a lid and simmer sorrentina sauce for at least 30 minutes.
Preparing pasta alla sorrentina:
- Bring salted water to a boil and cook pasta as per package instructions.
- When the pasta is almost ready, preheat your oven to 230°C (440 to 450°F).
- Take the sorrentina sauce out of the heat, and add the drained, cooked pasta.
- Mix to combine evenly.
- Transfer about half of the sorrentina pasta into a baking dish and arrange it as a thin layer.
- Sprinkle grated parmigiano Reggiano and place some sliced mozzarella on top.
- Add the remaining pasta into the baking dish.
- Sprinkle the remaining parmigiano and arrange the remaining slices of mozzarella as well.
- Place your sorrentina pasta in the middle part of the preheated oven for 5 to 8 minutes or until the mozzarella melts.
- Remove from the oven and set aside for at least 10 minutes.
- Serve and enjoy your penne alla sorrentina!
- Cook’s Tip #1: Remember to keep the garlic whole — it’s easier to pick up before combining the sorrentina sauce with the cooked pasta.
- Cook’s Tip #2: Tear the basil with your hands; the aroma and flavors are released better this way instead of chopping or cutting.
- Cook’s Tip #3: Do not forget to taste and adjust the seasoning of the sauce for your sorrentina pasta while it’s simmering.