I don't know whether any of you remember me, I am english and I have moved to Italy - been living here for the past six months. Italians are red hot news on fresh ingredients, and by fresh, I mean straight from the kitchen garden. There is nothing like fresh tomato sauce, made from tomatoes, herbs, garlic and onions straight from the soil and carried maybe fifty yards into the kitchen. We are currently enjoying figs straight from the tree outside - heaven!!! :D :D . As for pasta al forno, as it's called here, there are many varieties, from the classic lasagne and cannelloni, maccheroni alla siciliana, and many other pasta dishes that are cooked in the oven - 'forno' means 'oven'. As long as you make the dish in one go and don't use left-overs (heaven forbid) then there is no risk in cooking sauces and pasta, combining them, and then finishing them off in the oven. That is what, traditionally, has been going on in Italy for many centuries, and no deaths have yet been recorded - and it was the Romans who first introduced ovens to their colonialised countries.
I have found, since being here, that people take much more time over cooking than we do. I now cook on a wood burning stove - I use olive wood - and it is a dream, but certainly not instant. What I have learned is that to cook fast is to overcook and destroy flavours, but to take time and cook slow produces good results every time. I have learned to ADORE the cookery of the Italian Riviera - very simple but sophisticated use of ingredients, to produce delicious results. Italian cookery is definitely very different in technique from the world of instant food results that I come from - but I always knew that, as I have always had close links with Italy
and using these different cooking techniques is a pleasure for me.
If you want any recipes for 'pasta al forno' and cooking techniques, please post back