The Italian version of mac and cheese, with gooey long strands of fresh stracciatella cheese enveloped in a sweet tomato sauce and tossed with macheroncetti. Macheroncetti is like a short rigatoni pasta. You can also use your favorite tube pasta such as rigatoni or mostaccicoli. Stracciatella is probably best known as the creamy soft center of burrata with the shredded strands of what later becomes mozzarella. The word in Italian translates to “rag” and comes from the verb “strattore” which means “to stretch”. If you have ever seen fresh mozzarella, it’s stretched and pulled and completely mesmorizing! If you can’t find stracciatella at a local Italian market or high-end store, you can use fresh mozzarella.
No need to bake this dish. It’s fast and easy – about 45 minutes to make the sauce from scratch and toss it together. When those long gooey strands of cheese melt in the warm sweet sauce, you will feel like a kid again! Ultimate comfort food!
Classic Tomato Basil Sauce:
1/3 cup olive oil
1 large onion, diced
8 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 carrot, shredded
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
3 28-oz.cans tomato puree
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
12-16 fresh basil leaves
16 oz. stracciatella cheese (or fresh mozzarella)
1 pound macheroncetti (or rigatoni)
Grated Parmigiano Reggiano
Red pepper flakes
Place a large stock pot of water on high heat to boil the pasta.
Place olive oil into a large shallow skillet on medium heat. When hot, add onion and gently saute for 5 minutes. Add garlic and saute 3 minutes more. Add carrot and thyme and saute another 5 minutes.
Add pureed tomatoes and cook on medium for 30 minutes, stirring periodically. When ready to serve, season with salt and pepper to taste.
Add the stracciatella to the sauce and stir gently to combine. (If using fresh mozzarella, break the mozzarella into long thin strands with your hands, then add to the sauce and stir to combine to completely melt the cheese into the sauce.)
Add the basil leaves to gently wilt in the hot sauce.
When the stock pot is boiling, add a little salt and olive oil to the pasta water. Add the pasta and cook according to package instructions. When al dente, drain (do not rinse). Add the drained pasta to the sauce and stir to coat the pasta with the sauce.
Garnish with a sprig of basil, a little Parmesan cheese and for those who like a little kick, a touch of red pepper flakes.
After staying clean in my white outfit for the entire recipe, I dribbled those long strands of cheese on my shirt when I ate it! Hahah Worth every bite. You can watch the video of when I made this for my family on Suzanne Somers’ Facebook page in the video section. Here’s the link. https://www.facebook.com/suzannesomers/videos/359152331367188/