Traditional Maltese comfort food with Doris Camilleri
In the fourth instalment of our Nonnas of Melbourne series, our Maltese nonna Doris whips up a batch of her mum’s baked pasta recipe.
Like all our nonnas, Doris Camilleri, who came to Australia from Malta in 1964, has a passion for cooking – and for personalising each dish with her own special touches. “I love cooking,” says Doris, “I’m always trying to make something different. I use old recipes, new recipes, I read recipe books… and I always make little changes to them myself.”
As far as old recipes go, the delicious dish that Doris cooked for us was something her mum used to make on Sundays – just with a little Doris tweak. “I adapted it,” she says, “I added more meat and made it more tasty.”
Doris, who says she’s more or less always in the kitchen, tells us that while she taught her two daughters to cook (“they’re both very good at it”) her son’s cooking doesn’t quite match up – possibly due to the fact that his mum still feeds him much of the time.
“I’m on my own and he’s on his own, so I like to cook for him,” Doris says. “I’ll cook him artichokes, or another dish I make has sliced potato and sliced carrot, garlic, parsley, a bit of wine – it’s delicious.”
Doris says she’s never happier than when she’s entertaining or looking after people. “When you’ve got a passion for something, you just do it,” she explains. “When I see people eat all the food I’ve given them, that makes me feel good, it must mean it’s been nice and tasty.”
Watch Doris’ tutorial for Maltese baked pasta now, and find her recipe below:
Doris’ Maltese baked pasta recipe
- 500g beef mince
- 500g pork mince
- 500g mozzarella
- 300g ricotta
- 100g parmesan
- 200ml olive oil
- 5 eggs
- 1.5 lt tomato puree
- 1 brown onion, chopped
- 1 packet long tube pasta
- Sea salt and black pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 150 degrees. Heat a large saucepan over medium heat, add olive oil and gently fry the onion. Add beef and pork mince and cook, breaking up, until brown. Once the meat has browned, add tomato puree and season with salt and pepper. Cover with a lid and simmer for 40 minutes.
In a separate bowl crack five eggs, add the ricotta and whisk together until smooth. Meanwhile, cook the pasta as per instructions on the packet, then drain and set aside.
To assemble, take a large casserole dish and add one ladle of sauce into the bottom of the dish and spread evenly. Then add a ladle of the ricotta mix, spread evenly and sprinkle with a little parmesan and mozzarella. Next, carefully lay the cooked pasta tubes on top of the cheese layer, making sure they’re in a straight line. Add another layer of the meat sauce and repeat the same layering process four times, finishing with a layer of meat sauce and a final sprinkle of mozzarella and parmesan cheese. Place dish into oven and bake for one hour or until golden brown on top.
Cut into generous-sized serves and enjoy.
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