Baked Fazzoletti Pasta from Abruzzo (Fregnacce Abruzzesi).

Baked Fazzoletti Pasta from Abruzzo (fregnacce Abruzzesi).

Known as fregnacce Abruzzesi, this yummy baked fazzoletti pasta recipe from the Teramo province in Abruzzo is made with handkerchief pasta squares filled with a meat and sausage ragu. This is a delicious alternative to classic lasagna and a great way to use homemade lasagne sheets.

Baked fazzoletti pasta from Abruzzo (fregnacce Abruzzesi)

What does fregnacce mean?

The word ‘fregnaccia’, in the Abruzzo dialect, means more or less a ‘nonsense’, something simple and undemanding.  Today, in the world of fast and convenience food that we live in, this baked fazzoletti may not seem simple. But, to the farming families of the past, this was a recipe they made with every day ingredients.

Baked fazzoletti pasta from Abruzzo (fregnacce Abruzzesi)

Their pasta was always homemade. Many had their own chickens or got eggs from a neighbour who did. Or they made their pasta with durum wheat flour and water.  Most farming families produced their own sausages and slaughtered their own livestock for meat. Nowadays, of course, this isn’t really the case even though Abruzzo remains a region with a lot of farmers and shepherds.

ingredients for beef and sausage ragu on white plate.

However, fregnacce Abruzzesi is still a very popular dish, especially for Sunday lunch and family get-togethers. And, although Italians now buy most their ground meat and sausages from the local butcher or supermarket, fregnacce still need to be homemade. 

cut tomatoes, chopped onions, chopped sausage meat and ground beef in separate white bowls.

What is fregnacce pasta?

There are two types of pasta called fregnacce in Italy. One is a kind of rumboid strip or maltagliati from Marche and parts of Lazio made with durum wheat flour and water. 

sausage meat, ground beef and onion cooking in skillet

The other is the pasta used in this recipe. This kind of fregnacce is actually a type of fazzoletti or handkerchief pasta. In other words, square sheets of egg pasta made in the same way as lasagna noodles.

small tomatoes and red chili flakes added to meat and onions in skillet

The only other traditional recipe I know for handkerchief pasta is fazzoletti with pesto (mandilli de sea) from Liguria. In that recipe, fresh pasta squares are served with basil pesto and often potatoes and green beans, like in this recipe for corzetti! Although I have made the version with corzetti pasta, I want to make it with fazzoletti too!

ragu for fregnacce Abruzzesi cooking in skillet

How to make fregnacce.

Fregnacce from Abruzzo are simple to make. Just follow my recipe for homemade lasagne sheets. But, cut the pasta into squares instead of rectangular.

some of the ragu in a white bowl with grated pecorino and beaten egg in another white bowl

For this baked fazzoletti recipe I used 400g (14oz) of Italian ‘00’ soft wheat flour and 4 eggs. So that’s 100g of flour per egg. Each pasta square is about 16-18cm square (6 to 7 ins). I passed the dough through my pasta machine. However, I had to roll it out thinner to get the right size and thickness.

rolled out pasta sheet on pastry board with rolling pin, pasta cutter and measuring tape

When cooking the handkerchief pasta, you have two possible methods. If your pasta isn’t super thin, blanch it first in boiling salted water. If you can get it thin enough that you can see your fingers through it, then you can let it cook in the sauce! 

homemade handkerchief pasta squares (fazzoletti) on green tea towel

I have made this baked fazzoletti pasta two ways, with ready-made fresh lasagne sheets, which I blanched before, and homemade handkerchief pasta squares which I didn’t parboil.

homemade pasta squares with spoonfuls of ragu filling in the middle

The ragu.

Fregnacce Abruzzesi calls for a ragu made with ground beef and sausage meat.  I used a mix of ground pork and beef. But you can use just beef or veal. The sausages were just plain Italian pork sausages without added herbs.

8 stuffed and folded fregnacce Abruzzesi in white oven dish.

The ragu serves for the fazzoletti filling and to cover the pasta, like in lasagna.  After making the ragu, you need to separate it into two portions. The half that is used for the filling has eggs and cheese added to it.

fregnacce abruzzesi in white oven dish ready to be baked

Other ingredients in this baked fazzoletti pasta.

Apart from the pasta, ground meat and sausage, you only need an onion, red chili pepper (peperoncino) and some grated Pecorino cheese to make this recipe. So, in reality, this is a pretty simple sauce or as the people of Abruzzo say, it is a ‘fregnaccia’!

Baked fazzoletti pasta from Abruzzo (fregnacce Abruzzesi)

If you do try this baked fazzoletti pasta recipe from Abruzzo, I’d love to hear what you think. Please write a comment here on the blog or post a comment on the Pasta Project Facebook page.

Your feedback means a lot to me!

Buon Appetito!

Baked fazzoletti pasta from Abruzzo (fregnacce Abruzzesi)

Other Pasta Recipes from Abruzzo

  1. Fried sagne pasta with chickpeas.
  2. Spaghetti alla chitarra with 4 meat ragu.
  3. Pasta with saffron and zucchini.
  4. Chitarrini pasta with tuna carbonara.

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5 from 34 votes
Baked fazzoletti pasta from Abruzzo (fregnacce Abruzzesi)
Baked Fazzoletti Pasta from Abruzzo (fregnacce Abruzzesi)
Prep Time
1 hr
Cook Time
45 mins
 

This traditional baked fazzoletti pasta recipe from Abruzzo is a fabulous alternative to lasagna. It's made with homemade handkerchief pasta squares and beef and sausage ragu. An authentic Italian pasta recipe that all the family will love.

Course: Homemade Pasta, Main Course
Cuisine: Abruzzo, Central Italy, Italian
Keyword: Abruzzo, authentic Italian pasta recipe, baked pasta recipe, fazzoletti, fregnacce, ragu, sausage pasta
Servings: 4
Author: Jacqueline De Bono
Ingredients
Ingredients for pasta
  • 400 g Italian '00' flour (14oz) or all purpose flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 pinch salt
Ingredients for ragu and filling
  • 400 g minced/ground beef (14oz) or a mix of pork and beef
  • 2-3 Italian pork sausages depending on the size
  • 400 g mature small tomatoes (14oz) or peeled tomatoes
  • 1 onion peeled and finely chopped
  • 1-2 eggs depending on size
  • 150 g Pecorino Romano (5oz) grated
  • 200 g tomato passata (7oz)
  • 1/2 fresh peperoncino (red chili pepper) or 1 tsp red chili flakes
  • 3-4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil.
  • salt to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper. to taste
Instructions
Start making the pasta.
  1. Sift the flour onto a pastry board, make a well in the middle, add a pinch of salt and break the eggs into it. Beat the eggs with a fork and slowly bring the flour into the centre and then knead the dough for about 10 minutes until it is smooth and compact. Roll the dough into a ball and cover it with a tea towel or in plastic wrap and let it rest for 30 minutes. You can also start mixing the dough in a bowl or stand mixer. However, when I do this, I usually turn it out onto a wooden board and finish kneading there anyway.

Start making the ragu.
  1. Peel and thinly chop the onion. Remove the sausage meat from its casing and chop into small pieces. If using fresh small tomatoes, cut them into halves or quarters. If using a fresh chili, remove the seeds and chop into small pieces.

  2. In a heavy frying pan or skillet, cook the onion in the olive oil until it starts to get translucent. Add the sausage meat and ground beef. Mix well and leave to brown for 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and the red chili pepper and simmer for 40 minutes on a low heat. Add salt and black pepper to taste.

Continue with the pasta.
  1. In the meantime, divide the dough into quarters and roll each quarter out into a thin sheet of pasta. You can do this by hand or using a pasta machine. If using a pasta machine, your sheets may not be wide enough. You will need to roll them out more on a floured pastry board. Cut the dough sheets into squares of about 16-18 cm square. If you think your pasta squares are a bit thick then parboil them as described below. If they are very thin you can skip precooking them.

  2. Put a pot of salted water on to boil for the pasta if you want to parboil your fregnacce. Add a little olive oil to prevent the fregnacce sticking together. Blanch the pasta, 3 squares at a time. Drain the squares with a slotted spoon and arrange them on a tea towel.

Make the filling.
  1. Take half the meat sauce, put it in a bowl, let it cool and then add 1-2 eggs and 100 g of the grated pecorino (2/3rds) and mix well.

Finish the ragu.
  1. Add the passata to the rest of the ragu and continue cooking it for another 10 minutes while you make the fregnacce.

Finish the fregnacce abruzzesi.
  1. Place a small tablespoonful of filling on each square of pasta and fold it into four. (see photos in post) First in half and then half again.

  2. Grease an oven dish with a little olive oil, spread a little of the remaining ragu on the bottom of the dish then make a layer of the filled and folded fregnacce, slightly overlapping each other. Cover with the remaining ragu, sprinkle with some grated pecorino and bake in a pre-heated oven at 180 ° C for 15-20 minutes.

  3. Par-boiled pasta will cook faster. Fresh pasta may need a little longer.

Recipe Notes

I have made this recipe with ready-made fresh lasagne but I blanched them in boiling salted water as they tend to break when folded. You can also use dried lasagne sheets.These will also need to be blanched and then cut to make squares. If using either ready-made fresh or dried lasagne, your ‘squares’ will be smaller.So, use less filling. 

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77 Comments

  • Avatar
    Foodgoggle
    April 17, 2020 5:09 am

    Hi there,

    We would like to invite you to join https://foodgoggle.com/. A great food bloggers community which is like Pinterest and best alternative to Foodgawker. You can share your food recipes links, YouTube links, write food articles and follow your favorite foodies.
    Why wait sign up for free and share your wonderful recipes. Happy blogging!!

    Thanks
    Foodgoggle Team

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      April 27, 2020 4:51 am

      Thank you!

  • Avatar
    Sivaranjani
    April 8, 2020 4:52 am

    i was looking for homemade version of fregnacce longtime. Yours looks easy for me to try.

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      April 12, 2020 10:17 pm

      I hope you try it and love it!

  • Avatar
    Lathiya
    April 7, 2020 11:21 pm

    I’m thoroughly learning about pasta from your blog. Never heard of Handkerchief pasta. Very informative and the dish looks fabulous.

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      April 12, 2020 10:19 pm

      Thank you, Lathiya. It’s a delicious meal, and actually quite simple, though it looks complicated!

  • Avatar
    Jacque Hastert
    April 6, 2020 9:14 pm

    I am going to make this and surprise my husband with it! He loves Italian food, but he swears it’s never authentic enough. Since we have been to Italy several times he’s spoiled.

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      April 12, 2020 10:19 pm

      I am sure he will like any of the recipes on my blog – they are all authentic! Enjoy!

  • Avatar
    Aleta
    April 6, 2020 4:39 pm

    I LOVE this! Sausage stuffing all wrapped up like little treasures in fresh pasta squares?! Cannot wait to make these – my family is going to go crazy over it! Definitely looks easier than making ravioli.

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      April 12, 2020 10:20 pm

      ‘Wrapped up like little treasures’ – I love that, Aleta! Whether it looks perfect or not, the taste will be delicious!

  • Avatar
    Kacey Perez
    April 6, 2020 1:06 pm

    Oh my gosh this recipe seriously looks amazing. Making my own lasagna sheets sounds scary! But I am willing to try anything so I may give that one a try…especially if I have all the ingredients during this lock down time.

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      April 12, 2020 10:21 pm

      You will find it much easier than you think it will be. Enjoy the process 🙂

  • Avatar
    Charity
    April 6, 2020 2:55 am

    Yes please! We love making homemade pasta and now we have so much more time to do it! Thanks for the recipe!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      April 12, 2020 10:22 pm

      It’s a great time for trying new things and brushing up on old skills!

  • Avatar
    Sondra Barker
    April 5, 2020 8:00 am

    Wow this looks and sounds amazing! I am definitely going to try this out soon.

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      April 5, 2020 6:58 pm

      Thank you, Sondra! Let me know how it goes when you do!

  • Avatar
    Gail Montero
    April 5, 2020 1:58 am

    This is the perfect food for a special family dinner, no, any family dinner as I can eat this every day!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      April 5, 2020 6:59 pm

      Absolutely, Gail! It is great for special occasions or just because!

  • Avatar
    Lori | The Kitchen Whisperer
    April 4, 2020 11:36 pm

    I love that you educate and share so much knowledge. This looks absolutely delicious and just comforting! It’s like a hug on a plate! Thank you so much for sharing!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      April 5, 2020 7:00 pm

      Thank you, Lori. It is a very satisfying meal!

  • Avatar
    Leslie
    April 4, 2020 6:13 pm

    You always have some of the best pasta dishes! This looks like no exception! We love pasta in our family and it’s something we enjoy often! Love seeing how others enjoy it as well!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      April 5, 2020 7:04 pm

      Thank you, Leslie! I hope you continue to enjoy the recipes!

  • Avatar
    Paula Montenegro
    April 4, 2020 5:23 pm

    I had never heard of this recipe, but I have all the ingredients! Even pork chorizo which we eat like crazy here. A wonderful and easy recipe. Thanks for sharing.

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      April 5, 2020 7:05 pm

      This is a perfect recipe for you, Paula! Let me know if you try it!

  • Avatar
    Amy Liu Dong
    April 4, 2020 4:50 pm

    We love pasta so much and I am so happy to learn this new recipe, will definitely make this for our dinner. Thank you!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      April 5, 2020 7:06 pm

      Thank you, Amy. I would love to hear how it turns out!

  • Avatar
    Hani
    April 4, 2020 6:30 am

    So happy to read the history and knowledge of the food. It looks so good & surprisingly uses common ingredients.

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      April 5, 2020 7:12 pm

      I love to share the history and the knowledge! Especially these days, it’s good to keep it simple!

  • Avatar
    Veronika
    April 3, 2020 9:55 pm

    I never handkerchief pasta before but it looks so tasty and comforting! Also, I like that it’s easy to make, perfect for a weekend night!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      April 5, 2020 7:12 pm

      Thank you, Veronika. You should try it, if you try it, you will love it.

  • Avatar
    Beth
    April 2, 2020 7:39 pm

    You’re starting to make me think I should dust off my old pasta roller, though the last time I used it was to flatten leaves for basketry. Otherwise it might be a while before I can get out to look for fresh lasagne sheets. I’ll put it on my hope-to list.

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      April 5, 2020 7:14 pm

      Oh yes, Beth! Get your pasta roller out!

  • Avatar
    Anindya Sundar Basu
    April 2, 2020 3:18 pm

    Love Pasta in any form and will try this too

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      April 5, 2020 7:14 pm

      Me too, Anindya!

  • Avatar
    Loreto and Nicoletta Nardelli
    April 2, 2020 11:42 am

    They look fantastic! I’ve heard the name but never had them or made them. Sound pretty delicious to us!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      April 5, 2020 7:17 pm

      Thank you, it really is a delicious dish!

  • Avatar
    Patrice
    April 2, 2020 10:02 am

    I love Abruzzo so this dish sounds wonderful. Looking forward to returning to beautiful Italy when we can all travel again.

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      April 5, 2020 7:19 pm

      I hpe you get to try it inthe meantime, Patrice. It will bring a little bit of Italy to your table!

  • Avatar
    Stine Mari
    April 2, 2020 8:17 am

    I’ve never heard of handkerchief pasta before, but it sounds fairly easy to make! And the sauce looks spectacular, as always.

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      April 5, 2020 7:20 pm

      Thank you, Stine. Homemade pasta can be a very relaxing process!

  • Avatar
    Christy Boston’s Kitchen
    April 2, 2020 3:12 am

    This looks amazing! I love all the information and history you always give that helps me understand your recipes. I am going to pin this one. I can’t wait to try it!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      April 5, 2020 7:29 pm

      Thank you, Christy. I hope you try it and love it.

  • Avatar
    Lesli Schwartz
    April 1, 2020 8:26 pm

    This is the “cutest” lasagna I’ve ever seen! Those pillows! I definitely have some lasagna noodles in my pantry and will have to try this!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      April 5, 2020 7:29 pm

      It really is a pretty and delicious dish!

  • Avatar
    Anna
    April 1, 2020 5:36 pm

    Another yummy and comforting recipe! Love that this one using these big square sheets of pasta to fold the filling into it! Mouthwatering as always!

  • Avatar
    HEATHER PERINE
    April 1, 2020 3:04 pm

    Oh my this looks so comforting! I’m out of flour at the moment so I may have to cheat and do storebought lasagna noodles but that ragu looks too good to wait and make my own!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      April 5, 2020 7:32 pm

      Cheating is absolutely ok! Use what you have, it will be delicious.

  • Avatar
    Nart | Cooking with Nart
    April 1, 2020 1:52 pm

    This pasta looks scrumptious! Again, so much new information for me in this post. Thanks for sharing!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      April 5, 2020 7:35 pm

      Thank you, Nart. The food is so rich in history, I love to share it.

  • Avatar
    adriana
    April 1, 2020 9:40 am

    I visited the Abruzzo region three years ago and the food is fantastic love this dish!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      April 5, 2020 7:36 pm

      I hope you get to try this, Adriana, and bring back memories of your trip!

  • Avatar
    Felicia
    April 1, 2020 8:55 am

    I always learn so much when I visit your site. Like what words mean what pastas to use and the different kinds of pastas and where they originate from. This recipe looks so good and easy! Thank you!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      April 5, 2020 7:37 pm

      Thank you, Felicia. If you try it, let me know!

  • Avatar
    saif
    April 1, 2020 3:40 am

    I never tried Fazzoletti Pasta but this looks absolutely delicious. I am amazed there are many pasta dishes that I am not familiar with.

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      April 5, 2020 7:38 pm

      There is always more to learn, Saif!

  • Avatar
    Alpa
    March 31, 2020 11:33 pm

    I have never tried the handkerchief style pasta, will have to try it soon 🙂

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      April 5, 2020 7:38 pm

      If you like baked pasta, you will love it!

  • Avatar
    Marta
    March 31, 2020 11:31 pm

    I’ve never before heard of or seen fregnacce and now I need to make and eat it. Thank you for the introduction!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      April 5, 2020 7:56 pm

      If you try it, let me know how it goes.

  • Avatar
    Ramona
    March 31, 2020 11:24 pm

    This baked fazzoletti recipe looks soo good! One of those recipes that you could make again and again that you can never have enough. And that homemade handkerchief pasta…. omg! Need this in my life so badly right now.

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      April 5, 2020 7:56 pm

      Thank you, Ramona! It is delicious, I hope you try it!

  • Avatar
    Jere Cassidy
    March 31, 2020 6:54 pm

    It is amazing the number of pasta dishes that can be made, and I want to try them all. I love the simplicity of this dish and the fact it was an everyday dish. This is a must-try.

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      April 5, 2020 7:59 pm

      The possibilities are endless, Jere! There is always something new and delicious to try.

  • Avatar
    Rochelle
    March 31, 2020 5:02 pm

    I have never seen pasta like this. I am really excited to try this!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      April 5, 2020 8:00 pm

      It is beautiful, Rochelle, I hope you try this!

  • Avatar
    Shadi Hasanzadenemati
    March 29, 2020 8:26 pm

    This is absolutely delicious! I love that it’s such a crowd pleaser for the whole family

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      March 30, 2020 5:47 am

      Thank you, Shadi. Family meals that please everyone are so important!

  • Avatar
    Pam Greer
    March 29, 2020 8:19 pm

    Baked pasta dishes are my favorite and I had never heard of this one!! I can’t wait to try the homemade pasta!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      March 30, 2020 5:48 am

      Baked pasta is delicious! Hope you try it and love it.

  • Avatar
    Veena Azmanov
    March 29, 2020 7:45 pm

    Such an awesome dish is a treat to my family. I have to try making some this weekend. Delicious.

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      March 30, 2020 5:48 am

      Thank you, Veena!

  • Avatar
    Chris Collins
    March 29, 2020 7:29 pm

    I’ve actually never had Fazzoletti pasta before but it truly looks delicious! Can’t wait to try the recipe 🙂

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      March 30, 2020 5:49 am

      You must try it, I am sure you will love it!

  • Avatar
    Cathleen @ A Taste of Madness
    March 29, 2020 7:05 pm

    I have always wanted to make homemade pasta!! This sounds right up my alley, thanks for the recipe! 🙂

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      March 30, 2020 5:50 am

      It is a really enjoyable process, and even better you get to eat delicious and home made pasta when you are done!

  • Avatar
    Kelly Stilwell
    March 29, 2020 6:51 pm

    Looks delicious!! Can’t wait to try it!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      March 30, 2020 5:51 am

      It is delicious! Hope you try it!

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