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My Italian friends from Rockford always spoke of a mythical baked pasta dish that their mothers traditionally prepared for Easter; not the Italian Easter Pie with the crust, but a dish of pasta, eggs, cheese and cured meats. Well, this seems to be the ticket; it's more of a suburban Neopolitan Italian specialty and it's absolutely awesome. A terrific Easter brunch recipe with an Italian touch; it's also delicious at room temperature. You should be able to locate all of the meats and cheeses in the Italian section of a well-stocked supermarket or deli.
- 1 lb tagliolini or 1 lb fettuccine
- 4 tablespoons butter, cut into 8 pieces
- 2 cups cold milk
- 4 large eggs, beaten
- 2⁄3 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese (about 2 oz.)
- 2⁄3 cup grated pecorino cheese (about 2 oz.)
- 1⁄2 teaspoon black pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons butter (for greasing pan)
- 4 ounces provolone cheese, cut in 1/4-inch dice (about 3/4 cup)
- 4 ounces pancetta, cut in 1/8-inch dice (about 3/4 cup)
- 4 ounces soppressata, cut in 1/4-inch dice (about 3/4 cup)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Cook the pasta in boiling, salted water, until slightly underdone.
- Drain the pasta well and place it in a large bowl; toss with the butter. Pour in the milk and combine thoroughly; let stand, tossing every 5 to 10 minutes, until the pasta absorbs all except a tablespoon or so of the milk. This can happen almost immediately or take as long as 30 minutes.
- While the pasta is standing, in another bowl, beat the eggs with the grated cheeses and pepper. With 2 tablespoons of butter, grease a 3 to 4-quart baking dish or casserole.
- When the pasta has absorbed the milk, add the egg mixture, then the provolone, pancetta, and soppressata and mix well. Pour into the greased baking pan.
- Bake for about 50 minutes at 350 degrees F, or until the top and edges have browned lightly.
- Let rest 10 to 20 minutes before serving, or serve warm instead of hot, or at room temperature.