Thursday, 7 March 2013

Easy Baked Pasta with Cauliflower and Mushrooms


Keen cooks probably knock up a pasta dish without needing a recipe. However, on this blog I like to include some recipes that don't need any special skill, and to give details of preparation and 'do one thing while another is being done'. The ingredients are inexpensive, too.

 This dish takes about 20-25 minutes to prepare and 25 minutes to bake. The recipe serves four, and of course the fusilli can be substituted by another bitty pasta. I don't see it with spaghetti or tagliatelle, but papardelle (wide flat strips) might be OK. If the cook is in a hurry, the dish can be put under the grill for 5 minutes instead of baking, but all ingredients except the cheese would need to be hot already. Or, the dish could be made in advance, then microwaved until piping hot and put under the grill.

For speed, I like packet cheese sauces. Asda's own has the advantage of being made up with boiling water; Sainsbury's own is very tasty but needs milk - though I usually use two-thirds milk and one-third water from cooking the cauli. (In this case the powder goes in a pan and the liquid is stirred in before bringing the sauce to the boil.)
by Liz West
via flickr.com
Pasta with Cauliflower and Mushrooms
The oven, set at 160C, should be switched on about 10 minutes into the prep time.
A large oven-proof dish is needed, lightly brushed with oil.

Ingredients
1 tbsp oil
1 medium onion
10 small mushrooms
1 small cauliflower, coarser stalks discarded and the rest cut into large chunks
175g fusilli pasta (spirals)
2 packets of cheese sauce 
2 tablespoons of chopped fresh herbs (e.g. sage, parsley) or 1 tbsp of dried
Handful of raw fresh peanuts (optional but lovely)
1 tsp ground black pepper
Matchbox-sized piece of vegetarian cheddar, coarsely grated
by zimpenfish
via flickr.com
Method
1  Put plenty of water on to boil for the cauliflower, and heat the oil in a small pan.
2  Peel and coarsely chop the onion, then add it to the oil and fry gently for 5 mins. 
          Trim the mushrooms, add to the onion, and fry a further 3 minutes.
3  Meanwhile, boil the cauliflower for 6-7 minutes, then lift out and place in the 
          oven-proof dish. 
4  Return the cauli water to the boil and add the pasta. Make up the cheese sauce
          while letting the pasta simmer for 8-9 mins until nearly soft, stirring often.
          Drain and add to the oven dish with the onion mixture.
5  Add the made-up cheese sauce, the herbs, peanuts (if using) and pepper and mix 
          thoroughly.
6  Sprinkle the grated cheese evenly over, and bake for about 25 mins until bubbling
          well and the cheese is melted and golden.
Likely veg to serve with this include whole green beans, peas, sweetcorn, grilled halved tomatoes, or roasted red peppers. A chilled cider might go well as an alternative to an Italian white or red wine.

2 comments:

  1. I think even I could manage this!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Let me know when you do, Jo, and I'll pop round. Not to give marks out of ten, but to share!

    ReplyDelete