Baked pasta alla Tranese from Puglia.

Pasta alla Tranese is a delicious baked pasta recipe from Puglia made with marinated tomatoes and stracciatelle cheese.  I think it’s one of the best baked pasta recipes I know!

baked pasta alla Tranese recipe from Puglia

Pasta alla Tranese al forno.

Regular visitors to my blog have, most probably, realized baking is one of my favourite ways to cook pasta (Italians say pasta al forno- in the oven). Of course, I love other pasta recipes, especially different pesto sauces and seafood pasta dishes, but baked pasta has long been a firm favourite of mine! And, I love discovering different ways to make it.

baked pasta alla Tranese recipe from Puglia

Interestingly, baked pasta isn’t common in restaurants here where I live in Northern Italy, apart from lasagne al forno with Bolognese. However, it is a very popular way of serving pasta at home, especially on Sundays or feast days. And most Italian regions have their own particular baked pasta recipes.

ingredients for pasta alla Tranese on white plate

On a recent search for an original recipe for baked pasta, I came across this recipe called ‘pasta alla Tranese’. This baked pasta recipe is supposedly from Trani, a historic fishing port in Puglia, southern Italy, between Bari and Barletta on the Adriatic coast. I say supposedly because there seem to be different versions of this recipe.

halved cherry tomatoes marinating in salt, olive oil and basil

The cheese.

The version I choose to cook includes stracciatella, a delicious soft creamy cheese with a decidedly sweet taste. In fact, stracciatelle is better-known as the interior and, in my opinion, the best and tastiest part of burrata. Other versions use mozzarella and others only include grated pecorino and Parmesan.

tomato sauce cooking in skillet

What makes this baked pasta alla Tranese special?

The main feature of pasta alla Tranese recipe (common to all the versions I found) is the use of raw tomatoes which have been halved and left to marinate in salt, garlic and basil prior to baking. These tomatoes aren’t cooked before the pasta dish goes into the oven. Some people mix them with the half-cooked pasta in the oven dish. Others, as in the case of my recipe, use these tomatoes for the top layer of the dish.

half cooked pasta with tomato sauce in terracotta oven dish

I think the inclusion of stracciatella and that layer of raw marinated tomatoes, made this one of the best baked pastas I have eaten in a long time. I’m sure you’ll feel the same if you try it!

baked pasta alla Tranese in terracotta oven dish before baking

Other ingredients.

Apart from the marinated tomatoes and the stracciatella, this baked pasta alla Tranese includes a homemade tomato sauce, plus some grated Parmigiano and pecorino. You’ll also need an onion, a clove of garlic, some breadcrumbs and some parsley. And that’s just about it! Baked pasta doesn’t get much simpler or tastier than this!

baked pasta alla tranese ready for the oven

The pasta.

You can use any medium sized tube pasta to make pasta alla Tranese.  I used mezze maniche rigate, meaning grooved half sleeves! This pasta was made by a company called Garofalo from Gragnano near Naples. However, you could also use mezzi paccheri rigate, meaning half paccheri with grooves. But, pasta tubes such as rigatoni or penne rigate would work well too.

mezze maniche pasta Garofalo

If you do try this pasta alla Tranese recipe, 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!

Other Vegetarian baked pasta recipes here on The Pasta Project.

  1. Baked white lasagna with mushrooms and burrata
  2. Classic ricotta and spinach stuffed pasta shells
  3. Cheesy baked pasta shells
  4. Ricotta and basil filled paccheri
  5. Lasagna alla Norma

baked pasta alla Tranese

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baked pasta alla Tranese

5 from 20 votes
baked pasta alla Tranese recipe from Puglia
Baked Pasta alla Tranese
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
1 hr 30 mins
Total Time
1 hr 50 mins
 

A wonderful vegetarian baked pasta recipe from Puglia.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian, Puglia, Southern Italian
Keyword: baked pasta recipe, mezze maniche, puglia, stracciatella, tomatoes
Servings: 6
Author: Jacqueline De Bono
Ingredients
  • 500 g cherry tomatoes or datterini
  • 4-5 basil leaves torn into pieces
  • 500 g pasta tubes I used mezzi maniche rigate from Garofalo
  • 300 g fresh stracciatella cheese
  • 45 g pecorino grated
  • 45 g Parmesan grated
  • 1 garlic clove crushed
  • breadcrumbs as required
  • black pepper to taste
For the tomato sauce
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion peeled and finely chopped
  • 500 g ripe tomatoes blanched, peeled, deseeded and chopped or 1 bottle 700 g passata ( I prefer to use passata rustica which is thicker than classic passata)
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • salt for pasta and to taste
  • fresh parsley (for serving)
Instructions
Make the tomato sauce
  1. Fry the chopped onion in a little olive oil until translucent
  2. Add the passata or chopped peeled tomatoes, a pinch of salt and the sugar to reduce the acidity

  3. Simmer over a medium heat for 15-20 minutes.

Make the main dish
  1. Halve the 500 grams cherry tomatoes and put them to marinate in a bowl with the crushed garlic, basil and a pinch of salt.

  2. Half cook the pasta in plenty of boiling salted water, drain and mix with the tomato sauce after keeping aside enough sauce to layer the bottom of your oven dish.
  3. Ladle the saved sauce into the bottom of an oven dish (earthenware is traditional if you have one).
  4. Spread a layer of pasta with sauce and season with pecorino and parmesan cheese and half the stracciatella cut into pieces.
  5. Add a second layer of pasta, seasoned with cheese (pecorino, parmesan and stracciatella) and finish with a layer of pasta.
  6. Cover the last layer with the marinated cherry tomatoes, garlic and basil
  7. Sprinkle breadcrumbs and some more grated cheese on top, drizzle with olive oil.
  8. Bake at 180 degrees for 45 minutes until you will have formed a nice crust on the well-roasted tomatoes.
  9. Remove from oven, let stand and serve sprinkled with some fresh parsley as required

Recipe Notes

You can use any medium sized tube pasta. I used mezzi maniche rigate, but rigatoni, mezzi paccheri or maccheroni would work well too.

Instead of stracciatella you can also use mozzarella.

*This recipe was originally published in 2017 but has been updated with new photos and text.

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25 Comments

  • Avatar
    Amy
    August 5, 2019 1:03 pm

    I love baked pasta! The sauce In this dish looks amazing and full of flavor. This is the perfect comfort meal—thanks for the recipe!

  • Avatar
    Daniela
    August 5, 2019 5:58 am

    Yum! I’m a huge pasta lover and this baked pasta sounds dreamy! And all your in process shots make following the recipe so easy :).

  • Avatar
    sara
    August 5, 2019 5:07 am

    I would love to make this with some of the fresh offerings in my garden. I highly doubt that we will have leftovers, but if we are lucky enough to does this reheat well?

  • Avatar
    Des
    August 5, 2019 5:05 am

    I can’t wait to give this a try. I have added it to my menu for next week. Thank you!

  • Avatar
    jac
    August 5, 2019 5:04 am

    We love baked pasta dishes here. I can’t wait to give this one a try it seriously sounds amazing!

  • Avatar
    Leanne @ Crumb Top Baking
    August 5, 2019 4:11 am

    This is such a delicious way to use all the fresh tomatoes I’ve been buying lately! And with fall around the corner, we’ll be looking for hearty meals like this baked pasta to round out our weekly dinners!

  • Avatar
    Charity
    August 5, 2019 3:52 am

    I love taking a virtual culinary trip! Wish I could travel to Italy for real, but until then, I can make an authentic pasta dish! Thanks for the recipe!

  • Avatar
    Cathleen @ A Taste of Madness
    August 4, 2019 9:56 pm

    You know, I don’t bake my pasta as much as I would like. You are definitely inspiring me to change that!

  • Avatar
    Michel Bonnet
    August 3, 2019 9:37 am

    Hi Jacqueline,
    You have so many pasta sauces recipes that I don’t know where to begin!
    They are all so delicious – thank you.
    I like to make my sauces with Italian red wine – here and there.
    But your sauces have no red wine – why?
    Can you add red wine to some of your sauces? If so, which?, when? and how much?
    I would be grateful for your guidance.
    Thank you.
    Michel

    • Jacqui
      Jacqui
      August 3, 2019 12:02 pm

      Hi Michel. Thanks for your comment. I’m happy you like my blog. There are recipes on The Pasta Project that include red wine. Those which come to mind without having to check all my recipes are lamb ragu Molisana, pasta with venison or wild boar, corzetti with Genovese meat sauce. Also Orecchiette with braciole and pasta with braised pork ribs can be made with red or white. In general. I follow Italian recipes. I don’t invent them. However, if eiher red or white can be used I prefer to use white. Italians don’t used red wine in recipes with seafood, vegetarian recipes, white ragu recipes, recipes with a lot of cheese or soups! Red wine is used in heavier red meat dishes, particularly those which are slow cooked and have tomatoes in the sauce. Hope this answers your question. Have a nice weekend.

  • Avatar
    Sharon
    August 3, 2019 4:12 am

    This is such an easy pasta dish but so full of flavor! The perfect comfort food.

  • Avatar
    Mama Maggie’s Kitchen
    August 1, 2019 10:40 pm

    My mouth is watering. I have to make this tonight! I love that it is made with marinated tomatoes and stracciatelle cheese.

  • Avatar
    Amanda
    August 1, 2019 7:40 pm

    I always love a baked pasta dish. It just feels even cozier than a stove-top pasta. Thanks so much for another delicious recipe!

  • Avatar
    Kylee from Kylee Cooks
    August 1, 2019 6:13 pm

    Those fresh tomatoes would be SO good in this pasta. So fresh and summery. I love baked pastas – the hands off part is my favorite!

  • Avatar
    Demeter
    August 1, 2019 2:17 pm

    Looks wonderful! It’s always great to learn a new way to make pasta. 🙂

  • Avatar
    Claudia Lamascolo
    August 1, 2019 12:57 pm

    These photos are fabulous as I am sure this meal is, sure is right up my alley!

  • Avatar
    Cindy @ A Uniquely Edible Magic
    August 1, 2019 12:56 pm

    Baked pasta is one of my favourite dishes to make! Looking forward to making this for more dinners in the future.

  • Avatar
    kim
    August 1, 2019 12:54 pm

    I love baked pasta and this has the best flavor! So easy and tasty! I’ll be making this one again for sure!

  • Avatar
    Danielle Wolter
    August 1, 2019 12:49 pm

    This sounds incredible! I definitely want to try making that sauce with the fresh tomatoes!

  • Avatar
    Carissa Shaw
    July 31, 2019 8:32 pm

    This looks fantastic! I just happen to have this kind of pasta in my pantry, so now I know what to make. Thanks for a great recipe!

  • Avatar
    SHANIKA
    July 31, 2019 8:12 pm

    I love making Baked Pasta! It’s such an easy yet flavorful meal for the entire family! This looks yummy!

  • Avatar
    Noelle
    July 31, 2019 8:05 pm

    Delicious baked pasta dish!! Will be making again soon, huge hit with the family the first time!

  • Avatar
    Lauren Vavala | Delicious Little Bites
    July 31, 2019 8:05 pm

    I love that this is a simple Italian recipe with such great flavors. It’s perfect for a family meal or entertaining. The fresh tomatoes are my favorite part! Great recipe!

  • Avatar
    Caroline
    March 13, 2017 6:40 pm

    Awesome Jacque, looks divine!

    • admin
      admin
      March 15, 2017 8:13 pm

      Thanks so much Caroline! I hope that you’ll try this scrumptious recipe and let me know how it turns out! If you want to be notified when I post new stuff, do subscribe to my newsletter. All the best. Jacqui

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