Baked pasta with ricotta and ham


3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup dry red wine
1 pound Italian cooked ham, prefably parmacotto, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3 1/2 cups basic tomato sauce
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 pounds ziti, uncooked
1 small carrot, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 pound fresh ricotta
1 onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
8 ounces caciotta or hard provolone, cut into small dice
1 rib celery, thinly sliced
1/2 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese


In a Dutch oven, heat the oil over high heat until smoking.

Add the ham cubes and brown for 5 to 6 minutes.
Add the carrot, onion, and celery and cook until the vegetables are golden brown,
about 10 minutes.Add the wine, bring to a boil,
and cook until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato sauce,
and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover the pan and,
cook until the meat is just about falling apart, about 50 minutes.
Transfer the meat from to a large bowl. Keep the sauce warm.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 450°F. Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot,
and add 2 tablespoons salt.Cook the Ziti in the boiling water
for 1 minutes less than the package directions,
until still very al dente.
While the pasta is cooking, place the ricotta in a small bowl
and stir in a ladle of the pasta cooking water to ?melt? it.
Drain the pasta and add it to the bowl with the meat.
Add the ricotta and Cacciotta and stir to combine.
Grease a 9-by-12-inch baking dish with extra-virgin olive oil.
Place a ladle full of sauce in the bottom of the casserole,
followed by a layer of the pasta and meat mixture.
Sprinkle 2 to 3 tablespoons of the Parmigiano-Reggiano over,
then repeat with another layer of sauce,then pasta and meat,
and Parmigiano. Continue until all ingredients are used up.
Bake for 25 minutes, until bubbling and heated through.
Serve in warmed pasta bowls