"The Darlings" gave me an Italian Cookbook for my birthday, and on first glance I didn't think there was anything in there that jumped out at me and said "make me!" So what I did was turn the book on them, and ask them to pick a dish that they would like me to make.
This is the dish that they picked. On closer inspection I saw that there were vegetables in there - they of course hadn't read the ingredients - just looked at the picture!
I thought to myself - just another pasta dish. Boring!!! But, boy was I wrong - this dish was great - so much flavour, and it pleased everyone because it had the best of both worlds in there. The creamy sauce, and the meat sauce!!
Pork and Pasta Bake
Adapted from Best Ever Italian Cookbook
1 tbs olive oil
1 onion, finely diced *
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped *
2 carrots, finely diced *
100g pancetta, chopped *
200g mushrooms, chopped *
1kg pork mince
1 cup dry white wine
400g can chopped tomatoes
2 tbs fresh sage, finely chopped
500g penne pasta
240g mozzarella cheese
8 tbs freshly grated parmesan cheese
3 cups Bechamel Sauce
From EDC Thermomix Cookbook
1 tsp salt
pinch freshly grated nutmeg
Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium high heat. Add the onion, garlic and carrots and cook stirring occasionally for 3-5 minutes, or until the onion has softened. Add the pancetta and cook for a 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms, cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the pork and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon, until all the meat is browned all over. Add the wine, tomatoes and the sage. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to low, and simmer for 25-30 minutes, or until the liquid has reduced by about 1/2. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
* I used the Thermomix to cut up all the vegetables - simply processed the onion and garlic for 3 seconds on speed. 7. Then did the same for the carrots, and then the mushrooms, and then the sage. Made it all too easy!!!!
While the meat is cooking, bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil. Cook pasta for 8-10 minutes, or until still al dente. Drain well.
Place all the ingredients in the TM bowl and cook for 12 minutes at 90 degrees on speed 4.
Once the sauce is cooked add the mozzarella cheese, and 4 tbs of the parmesan cheese to the sauce, season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Mix on speed 5 for 5 seconds.
(I did not make this recipe - I used the TM version above!)
110g unsalted butter
110g (3/4) cup all purpose flour
1000ml (4 cups) milk
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
Melt the butter in a medium sized saucepan over medium - low heat. Add the flour, and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat and gradually stir in the milk. Return the pan to the heat and bring to the boil, stirring constantly, until thickened and smooth. Add the bay leaf and let simmer gently for 2 minutes.
Remove the bay leaf and season to taste with salt, pepper and the nutmeg.
Spoon the pork mixture in a large ovenproof dish. Add the bechamel sauce to the drained pasta. Mix well. Spoon the pasta and sauce mixture over the pork mixture. Sprinkle the top of the sauce with the reserved 4 tbs of parmesan cheese.
Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown.
Serve with additional parmesan cheese on the side.
I must say this was one of the nicest pasta dishes I have had in a long time. The flavours were great, and a big bonus for me was that there vegetables in there - and "The Darlings" had no clue!!! Just gobbled it all down!!
This was a big winner in my books - and there was sufficient left over that I have put some in the freezer for another night for "The Darlings". Everyone is a winner now!!! Got to love that!!!
So Dear Readers tell me what is your favourite pasta dish? Is it creamy, meat, seafood, vegetarian?? Do tell.