To make the Tomato and basil sauce, place the olive oil in a heavy-based stockpot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic. Cook until the onion is soft. Add the Roma tomatoes (or San Marzano canned tomatoes). Bring to the boil, then add the basil, sugar, and a pinch of salt. If using canned tomatoes (such as San Marzano), add 400ml water. If you are using fresh tomatoes, there is no need to add water. Stir to combine. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for approximately 1 hour or until the sauce has reduced to your required consistency, stirring occasionally so that the sauce does not stick to the pot and burn, then remove from the heat. Add water to the Tomato and basil sauce, as needed to keep the sauce lovely and moist. Discard garlic clove. Set aside to cool.
Note: Roma tomatoes need to be ripe and flavoursome for this recipe. Use quality fresh Roma tomatoes only in the summer months of the year. Alternatively, use San Marzano canned tomatoes.
Preheat the oven to 180°C conventional oven/ 160°C fan-forced (350° Fahrenheit/Gas 4). Grease a baking dish with butter or margarine.
Meanwhile place a large pot with water on high heat and bring to the boil. Add a pinch of salt and fusilli pasta to the boiling water and cook for ¾ of the ‘al dente’ cooking time – refer to the cooking time specified in pasta packet instructions. Drain the pasta, then add to the stockpot with Tomato and basil sauce. Toss to combine.
Ladle 1/2 of the fusilli pasta with Tomato and basil sauce over the base of the baking dish. Add half of the chopped mozzarella over the pasta layer and use the back of the ladle to press it down and level it. Add the remaining the fusilli pasta with Tomato and basil sauce over the mozzarella layer. Add the remaining chopped mozzarella over the pasta layer and once again use the back of the ladle to press it down. Finish with a layer of Parmigiano Reggiano sprinkled over the top.
Bake in a preheated oven for 25 minutes.
Remove from the oven. Cut the Pasta alla sorrentina into 4 portions and serve – buon appetito.