Saturday, 22 August 2009

Fiorentina Pasta Bake

I had a fantastic week at Hadrian's Wall, it was really interesting. We had guided walks and tours to all the main sites on Hadrian's Wall, with talks given by the archaeologists who actually excavated each of the sites, which meant that they were on hand to answer any questions and they really knew about each site.

Whilst I was away I read Barbara Kingsolver's book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, which is about a year of her and her family eating seasonally and mostly from things they grew or made themselves. It was really interesting and inspiring. It made me want to start canning tomatoes and make my own cheese! I am also now freezing the over abundance of produce that is now coming from mine and my mum's gardens so that I can have lovely vegetables in the winter and hopefully save some money along the way!

This pasta bake is one of my staples, I make it whenever I have mushrooms and spinach, which need using up. It is really easy to make and freeze. The last batch I made was just before I went on holiday to try and finish off the odds and ends I had left in the fridge.

I modified the original recipe from Good Food Magazine slightly by adding artichoke hearts. I also make my spinach and cheese sauce differently. Although I buy a pot of ready made four cheese sauce from the supermarket, I add in fresh spinach which makes for a better taste and texture overall.

This I served with coleslaw and tomatoes with vinaigrette.

Fiorentina Pasta Bake (adapted from Good Food Magazine January 2007)
(Serves 4)

300g pasta (Rigatoni or Penne is best but works with anything)
1 tbsp olive oil
500g chestnut mushrooms, halved or quartered if large
2 garlic cloves, chopped
350g carton cheese sauce
100g spinach
50g Parmesan cheese, grated
half a can of artichoke hearts

Boil the pasta for 10 mins, drain, then tip back into the pan. Meanwhile, heat grill to medium. Heat the oil in a large frying pan, add the mushrooms, then cook over a high heat for 5 mins until lightly golden. Reduce the heat, add the garlic, then fry for another min until softened, add the spinach and stir for another min to wilt. Season and spoon into a large, shallow baking dish.

Tip the cheese sauce and half the cheese into the pasta, then put back on the heat for a few mins until heated through. Season to taste, then spoon the pasta over the mushrooms and spinach in an even layer. Scatter the remaining cheese over the top and grill for about 5 mins until the cheese is golden and the sauce is bubbling.

No comments:

Post a Comment