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Baked fazzoletti pasta from Abruzzo (fregnacce Abruzzesi)
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5 from 35 votes

Baked Fazzoletti Pasta from Abruzzo (fregnacce Abruzzesi)

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.
Prep Time1 hr
Cook Time45 mins
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.

  • 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.

  • 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.
  • 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.

  • 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.
  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

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

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.