500g (1 lb.) short, dried pasta such as penne or rigatoni
1 recipe of sugo di carne
1 recipe of béchamel sauce
100g (4 oz.) grated parmesan cheese (or more to taste) plus a bit more for topping
Salt and pepper
A pinch of ground nutmeg
A few pats of butter
Cook the pasta in well salted water as you normally would, but drain the pasta while it is still slightly underdone.
Pour the drained pasta into a large bowl, add the sugo di carne and mix well. Then add the bechamel sauce, grated cheese and nutmeg, gently folding it into the pasta and sauce. Do not attempt to make a smooth mixture out of it—just the opposite, you want interspersed ‘streaks’ of sauce and bechamel, which makes for a much more interesting dish. The mixture will be (and should be) rather loose—remember, the pasta will continue to absorb liquid as it bakes. If the mixture is a bit dry or sticky, add some liquid (milk or broth or just some water). Taste and adjust for seasoning; the mixture should be quite savory.
Pour the contents of the bowl into a greased baking dish. Top with more grated cheese and a few pats of butter here and there. (Some people like to hold back some of the bechamel as well as a topping.) Bake in a hot oven (200°C/400°F) for about 20-30 minutes, until the top is nicely browned and the pasta is hot and bubbly. Let the dish rest at least 5 minutes before serving.