No one can deny the glorious flavours of traditional Italian cuisine, especially when they come together in a rich casserole bubbling-hot straight from the oven. These hearty masterpieces are known as al forno due to the nature of their oven-baked preparation. No matter where it's served, al forno dishes capture the essence of home-style cooking, making it hard to resist to say the least! As the winter reaches it height in Cork, there's no better way to keep warm and enrich your soul than with a heaping portion of cheesy, oozing, mouth-watering Italian al forno dishes!
1. Pollo Pesto, Milano
If you're looking for a classic and hearty al forno that stays true to the traditional flavours of Italian cuisine, then look no further than Milano. With a wonderful selection of authentic pizzas and al forno pastas to choose from, this spot has got you covered all winter long! A favourite among regulars is none other than their Pollo Pesto dish: a chicken based casserole baked with a combination of mozzarella, Gran Milano cheese, and béchamel sauce accompanied by fresh ingredients such as red onion and closed cup mushrooms. A pesto sauce all generously coats pennette pasta for a baked and broiled wholesome meal served piping hot!
2. Lasagne Bolognaise, La Dolce Vita
Another spectacular type of al forno dish we've all come to know and love is the classic lasagne. Thin sheets of pasta stacked between layers of Italian meat sauce, veggies, and a variety of cheeses all fused together with the heat of the oven makes for a guaranteed showstopper every time! For a taste of this Italian favourite, check out La Dolce Vita's lasagne bolognaise and delve into the glorious flavours of true Italian tradition. Served with a side of garlic bread, this meat dish will give you the energy and warmth you need to carry on with a smile no matter what the weatherman predicts!
3. Farmhouse Calzone, Uncle Pete's
Don't quite have the time to devour a full al forno-style casserole dish, but hoping for a warm snack hot out of the oven to keep the rumbles at bay? Why not get the best of both worlds and enjoy a delicious calzone? This Italian handheld snack encompasses the best of any al forno dish whilst ditching the oversized casserole and opting for a tasty pastry package instead. Baked and bubbling from within, this pastry will give you the satisfaction and warmth of a casserole neatly tied up in a soft dough for a snack on-the-go. Try out Uncle Pete's Farmhouse Calzone stuffed with pineapple, peppers, mushroom, sweet corn and onions bound together in a tasty tomato sauce and oozing mozzarella. Whether you're looking for a quick lunch to get you through the day or just prefer the buttery outer crust, you're guaranteed to enjoy this hands-on snack on a cold winter's day.
4. Cannelloni Spinach & Ricotta, Ristorante Rossini
Last but certainly not least, another magnificent member of the al forno family is the cannelloni. Made with sheets of pasta or Italian stuffed flour pancakes, cannelloni share the best of oven-baked casseroles that will keep you warm and satisfied until the cows come home! For a vegetarian-friendly option, try the Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni served at Ristorante Rossini. This dish stuffs freshly made pasta cylinders to the brim with a glorious ricotta and spinach mixture, and then stacked and drenched in both béchamel and traditional Italian tomato sauce. This dish makes for the perfect veggie-friendly option fit for any meal of the day!
Stay out of the cold this winter and have Deliveroo bring you something fresh, cheesy and bubbling to perfection straight to your dinner table today!