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5 from 2 votes

Imqarrun / Għaġin il-forn - Maltese Baked Pasta

Imqarrun or għaġin il-forn is a traditional Maltese baked pasta dish. The pasta is coated with a rich meat based sauce and cooked until the top gets super extra crunchy.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time1 hr 45 mins
Total Time2 hrs
Course: dinner, Main Course
Cuisine: Maltese, Mediterranean
Keyword: Baked, Pasta, Traditional
Servings: 4 people

Ingredients

  • 500 g penne or rigatoni pasta
  • 500 g pork minced meat or mixed
  • 360 ml tomato sauce (passata)
  • 1 small white onion diced
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste Maltese kunserva
  • 1/2 tsp curry
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper extra for the top part
  • 2 eggs raw or boiled*
  • 125 ml milk
  • 50 g parmesan cheese or kefalotiri cheese grated

Instructions

  • In a large pan or pot, heat the olive oil and fry the onion for a few minutes until translucent. Add the garlic and let cook for another minute.
  • Add the thyme, oregano, rosemary, curry, cumin and paprika and mix well with the onion and garlic. Add the tomato paste and let it cook for about 3 minutes.
  • Once the base is ready, add the pork minced meat, let cook for a few minutes until you get a nice brown colour. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Lastly, add the tomato passata and the bay leaves. Bring to a light boil.
  • Once you bring it to a boil, cover the pot and let it simmer on low heat for about 1 hour, stirring it occasionally so that the meat doesn't get stuck to the bottom.
  • Preheat the oven to 180°C or 350°F. 
  • During the last half an hour, bring to a boil a pot filled with water. Once it starts to boil, season with plenty of salt. Add the pasta and cook for a minute or two less than as instructed on the package. The pasta needs to be al dente.
  • Once the sauce is done, don't forget to remove the bay leaves and discard.
  • Butter a baking dish. I used a glass dish with a volume of 3L. Set aside.
  • Put the pasta together with the sauce and mix.
  • In a separate small bowl mix together the raw eggs*, milk and half of the grated cheese and add it to the already mixed pasta. Mix well by making sure that every piece of pasta is covered.
  • Place the mixed pasta in the dish and gently press it down to pack it in. Cover the top layer with the remaining grated cheese and sprinkle extra black pepper on top.
  • Bake the pasta dish on the middle rack of your oven for about 45 minutes. During the last 10 minutes I like to place the dish on a higher rack so it gets crispier. However, this last step is optional.
  • Once ready, let it rest for a few minutes before slicing through so that the pasta bake doesn't break completely.

Notes

*If you want to use boiled eggs in the mixture, boil them beforehand and have them ready by the time you're ready to mix everything together.
Store any leftovers in an airtight container for a maximum of two days. I won't suggest you keep it longer, because if you do so, the pasta might get too mushy. If you want, you can also freeze the imqarrun post baking.