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Posts Tagged ‘Pasta bake’

This is much lighter than your average pasta bake and therefore perfect for midweek. It’s packed full of flavour and you can freeze the leftovers too. Serve with a salad.

Wine Suggestion: Perfect with an easy, mid-weight red like the Umani Ronchi Rosso Conero Serrano, a joyful blend of Montepulciano and Sangiovese. Food friendly and also easy sipping on its own.

Spinach & Ricotta Pasta Bake – serves 6

  • 400g wholewheat penne pasta
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 6 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp sweet smoked paprika
  • 250g roasted peppers from a jar, diced
  • 700g jar passata
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 100ml water
  • 200g ricotta cheese
  • a small handful of sage leaves, finely chopped
  • 150g baby spinach
  • a handful of basil leaves, roughly chopped
  • 125g mozzarella ball, diced
  • 15g Parmesan, finely grated

Preheat the oven to 220C/Fan 200C/Gas 7.

Bring a large pan of salty water to the boil and cook the pasta for the shortest time indicated on the pack, then drain and run under cold water until completely cooled. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat a tablespoon of olive oil in another large saucepan, then cook the onion for about 5 minutes or until softened. Then add the garlic and continue cooking for another 2 minutes. Stir in the paprika and cook for a further minute.

Add the roasted peppers, passata, tomatoes and oregano. Pour the 100ml of water into the passata jar, give it a shake, then add this too. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix the ricotta and chopped sage together and season with salt and black pepper.

Stir the spinach and basil into the tomato sauce until wilted, then season the sauce with salt and black pepper. Add the pasta and stir to coat in the sauce, then tip it all into a large roasting tray or lasagne dish.

Scatter over the mozzarella, dot with the ricotta mixture and sprinkle with the Parmesan. Bake on a high shelf in the oven for 20-25 minutes.

(Original recipe from Lose Weight & Get Fit by Tom Kerridge, BLOOMSBURY ABSOLUTE, 2018.)

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This pasta bake from the Falastin book would make a great party dish. We’re still a good way off holding a party in terms of restrictions but we’re very happy to have heaps of leftovers. It’s full of warm spices and the feta on the top makes it a bit different from the more familiar pasta bakes. If you make the ragu the day before it’s pretty straightforward to assemble and bake when you need it. If you do this, warm the ragu slowly first before adding the pasta.

Wine Suggestion: this goes great with a warmly, spiced southern French or Spanish red. Our choice tonight is a rarity, a wine from the Southern part of Aragon near the provincial city of Teruel. An ancient inland region of Spain that was de-populated during the civil war and is being rejuvinated by some young winemakers replanting the vineyard terraces of their grandparents. The Jesus Romero Rubus is a Garnacha Tempranillo organically grown and made without intervention, but with a lot of love and care to avoid any bacterial issues. Joyful red and black fruits, warm spices and refined tannins.

Spicy pasta bake – serves 6 generously

FOR THE RAGU:

  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 3 celery sticks, roughly chopped
  • 2 green peppers, roughly chopped
  • 25g unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 5 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 2 tbsp oregano leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1¼ tsp chilli flakes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 500g beef mince (not too lean, about 20% fat if possible)
  • 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 5-6 plum tomatoes, coarsely grate and discard the skins – if you have a mouli you could use this
  • 2 red peppers, cut into rough 3cm dice
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • 20g parsley, roughly chopped, plus a bit extra to serve

FOR THE BÉCHAMEL:

  • 45g unsalted butter
  • 60g plain flour
  • 500ml full cream milk
  • a pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 130g Greek-style yoghurt
  • 2 egg yolks

OTHER INGREDIENTS:

  • 350g macaroni pasta or similar
  • 180g feta, roughly crumbled
  • ¾ tsp Aleppo chilli flakes, to serve

First make the bolognese. Put the onion, celery and green peppers into a food processor and pulse briefly, until finely chopped.

Put the butter and oil into a large, heavy saucepan and put over a medium-high heat. Add the onion mixture and cook for 7 minutes, stirring, until softened. Add the garlic, tomato purée, oregano, spices and bay leaves and cook for a minute.

Add the beef mince and cook for a few minutes, breaking it up with a wooden spoon and cooking until no pink bits remain.

Add the tinned and fresh tomatoes, red peppers, sugar, 100ml of water, 2¼ tsp of salt and plenty of black pepper. Bring to a simmer, then cover the pan, reduce the heat to medium-low and leave to simmer very gently for 2½ hours, stirring roughly every 30 minutes, until the sauce is thick and rich. We took the lid off for the last half an hour as our ragu was very liquid. Discard the bay leaves, stir in the parsley and set aside until needed.

To make the béchamel, put the butter into a medium saucepan and place on a medium-high heat. When the butter has melted, stir or whisk in the flour and cook for a minute or two. Gradually pour in the milk, whisking or stirring continuously. Reduce the heat to medium, add the nutmeg and 1 tsp of salt, and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring all the time. Remove from the heat and set aside for 10 minutes, then stir in the yoghurt and egg yolks until mixed in.

Heat the oven to 200C fan.

Bring a large pan of salty water to the boil and cook the pasta until al dente (use the minimum time on the pack). Reserve 3 tbsp of the cooking water, then drain the pasta and add to the ragu with the reserved cooking water. Mix well then pour into a large baking dish (about 30 x 22cm and 8cm deep).

Pour the béchamel over the top and spread out evenly. Sprinkle over the feta and bake for 25 minutes, or until golden and bubbling.

Leave to cool for 10 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with some extra parsley, the aleppo chilli and an extra drizzle of olive oil.

(Original recipe from Falastin by Sami Tamimi and Tara Wigley, Ebury Press, 2020.)

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Purple Sprouting Broccoli Pasta Bake

We’ve been cooking pretty much as usual since Covid-19 struck and we’ve all had to stay home. We are trying even harder than usual though to use what we already have. The only fresh ingredient you need here is broccoli, we used purple sprouting as it’s in season but any broccoli will do. Hopefully you have everything else in your cupboard or fridge already, if not the corner shop should have it.

Wine Suggestion: a simple white wine with a bit of freshness and texture is all that is needed here. Our selection is the Macchialupa Falanghina from Benevento in Campania, Italy, which over delivers but is joyfully fresh and vibrant.

PSB and Pasta Bake – serves 4

  • 250-300g broccoli, cut into florets (we use stalks and all)
  • 250-300g penne pasta (or whatever short pasta you have)
  • 25g butter
  • 25g plain flour
  • 300ml milk
  • 2 large handfuls of grated Cheddar cheese (or any leftover cheese)
  • 1 tbsp grainy mustard (or any mustard)

Cook the pasta in loads of salty boiling water and add the broccoli for the last 4 minutes. Drain and leave to steam dry in the pot.

Make a cheese sauce by melting the butter in a saucepan, then stir in the flour. Keep stirring for a minute, then gradually add the milk, a little at a time, stirring all the time. Keep stirring now until the mixture bubbles, then leave to simmer for a couple of minutes. Stir in the mustard, one large handful of cheese and plenty of seasoning.

Tip the cooked pasta and broccoli into the sauce and stir gently. Tip into an ovenproof dish and put under a hot grill for a few minutes until browned and bubbling.

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Turkey Tetrazzini

A creamy turkey and mushroom pasta bake for the inevitable leftovers. Tetrazzini was created by Italian immigrants to the USA adapting family recipes to local conditions and evolving tradition. We like this.

Wine Suggestion: Given this is American in origin we opened a Californian Chardonnay, the Cline Chardonnay from the Sonoma Coast. The richness of fruit and hints of oak were a great match.

Turkey Tetrazzini – serves 4

  • 200g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
  • 200g spaghetti
  • 50g butter plus a bit extra for frying the mushrooms
  • 2tbsp flour
  • 250ml hot chicken stock
  • a few drops of Tabasco
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tbsp dry sherry
  • 3 tbsp single cream
  • 300g cooked turkey
  • 4 tbsp grated Parmesan

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Start by frying the mushrooms in a little butter until softened and browned. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Cook the spaghetti in a large pan of boiling salted water for the time indicated on the pack.

Meanwhile, make your white sauce. Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the flour and stir and cook for a minutes or so. Gradually whisk in the hot chicken stock until smooth and thickened. Remove from the heat and whisk in the tabasco, egg yolk, sherry and cream, then stir in the cooked turkey and mushrooms.

Layer the cooked spaghetti with the turkey mixture in a ovenproof dish, finishing with a layer of spaghetti and the Parmesan sprinkled over.

Bake in the oven for 25 minutes or until piping hot and bubbling. Put briefly under a hot to crisp up the spaghetti on top if needed.

Serve with a green salad.

(Original recipe by Lulu Grimes in Olive Magazine, January 2008)

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Broccoli & salcmon bake

This was Friday night dinner in our house. Really easy to put together, with heaps of flavour and you can even prep it up to 4 hours in advance and chill until you’re ready to bake. You could serve some salad on the side if you like but it works pretty good on its own.

Wine Suggestion: Fresh, minerally, Chardonnay is our go to wine for this. You need fresh acidity for the rich salmon and creamy sauce and a broadness on the palate to match the body of the dish. Today it’s the Ventenac Préjugés, 100% Chardonnay from a plot that exceeded the expectations and prejudices of the winemaker, being atypical Languedoc; all freshness, juiciness and minerality.

Broccoli & salmon bake – serves 4

  • 250g penne pasta
  • 300g broccoli, cut into large florets
  • 25g butter
  • 25g plain flour
  • 600ml full cream milk
  • 100g mascarpone
  • 8 sun-dried tomatoes preserved in oil, drained and thickly sliced
  • 2 tbsp small capers, rinsed (optional)
  • 10 large basil leaves, roughly torn
  • 4 fresh skinless salmon fillets
  • 50g mature cheddar, finely grated

Preheat the oven to 190C/Gas 5/170C.

Cook the pasta in plenty of boiling salted water for 6 minutes, then add the broccoli and time another 4 minutes when the water returns to the boil. Drain.

Meanwhile, put the butter, flour, and milk in a very large saucepan and heat, whisking the whole time, until it thickens enough to make a smooth sauce. Remove from the heat and stir in the mascarpone, sun-dried tomatoes, capers and basil, then add the drained broccoli & pasta and season well.

Halve the salmon fillets widthways to give you shorter stubby pieces and put into the a large baking dish in a single layer. Spoon the fish and broccoli mixture over the top, then scatter with the cheese.

Bake for 30 minutes or until starting to bubble at the edges. Don’t be tempted to brown it too much or you will overcook the fish.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Rich Salmon Macaroni

This is super rich and luxurious and needs no other accompaniment than lots of dressed salad leaves (and a glass of wine of course).

Wine Suggestion: There are two options here. One is to balance the richness of the dish with an equally weighty wine and for this we’d drink a good white Burgundy, Meursault preferably. Conversely you can cut through the richness with something a bit more fresh and zingy such as a good Sancerre, the key here is to make sure the wine has texture and concentration so it’s not overwhelmed. Again, choose a very good producer if you can. 

Salmon with macaroni – serves 4

  • 600ml double cream
  • 400g piece of salmon fillet
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 150g macaroni
  • 2 tbsp wholegrain mustard
  • 50g sourdough bread
  • large handful of fennel fronds/dill

Preheat the oven to 200ºC.

Pour the cream into a saucepan and add the salmon, bay leaf and some freshly ground black pepper. Bring almost to the boil, then turn the heat down and cook gently for about 10 minutes or until the flesh flakes easily, then remove from the heat.

Boil the pasta in lots of salty water for about 9 minutes, then drain and tip into a baking dish. Remove the salmon from the cream and flake into large chunks, discarding any skin and bones. Tuck the salmon in amongst the pasta. Add the mustard to the cream with a little salt, then pour over the salmon & pasta.

Put the sourdough bread and fennel/dill into a food processor and pulse to coarse crumbs. Scatter the herby crumbs over the pasta. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the crumbs are golden.

(Original recipe from The Kitchen Diaries III by Nigel Slater, Fourth Estate, 2015.)

Mac n Salmon

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