Weather in Sydney is really peculiar. It changes within the hour. We move from hot to cold or temp fluctuations with no time to spare. This is predominantly due to topography. With no huge mountain ranges to hold the fast-moving clouds, the cities towards the coast heat and cool really fast with the seabreeze.
Now this means, we hardly pack away our baking dishes. Baked pasta happens even in summer. The distinction between summer and winter veggies are not very clear. In that way, we are blessed as we get most stuff all year round.
Following the heatwave, we quickly cooled down. So, baked pasta on the menu!!
Few baked pasta basics
Getting the baked pasta right with the perfect al dente feel is all about a few basics.
The shape of the pasta.
The best bakes are always from short cut pasta. The ones that can hold on to the sauce makes it better like penne, spirals or ziti. This allows serving the pasta easily as well.
While cutting the vegetables to go with it, keep it approximately to the same size.
Cooking the pasta
Here is a solid tip. If you are proceeding with baking the pasta cook it under. Take it off just before it is al dente (to the bite). The baking gives it another cook. Otherwise, it turns a bit mushy.
Size of the baking dish
Very often while baking the pasta, it tends to bubble over and mess the oven. So I prefer to go for the baking dish to be a size bigger than I need and only have three-fourths of it filled. In this way, the sauce stays in the dish.
The thick and juicy sauces make the best bakes. Often I bake a serving of the lentil marinara -click here for the recipe.
Another one I love to bake with is simple white sauce as it gives a creamy dig with baking. This is the one we are exploring today
Scroll down to the recipe for the perfect measurement and hope you enjoy it.
Linking this recipe.
As a reader, you would have come across a number of recipes on my blog that have been linked to Shh cooking secretly a group of bloggers. It is a fun and exciting group where our partners for the challenge assign us two secret ingredients to cook with. Then our fellow bloggers have a little game of guessing the same. This time, I had an exciting adventure with Priya who recommended broccoli and salt as the secret ingredient. The challenge initiated by Preethi was to utilize winter veggies. Thanks to the heavy fluctuations in temperature I can always swing to a winter recipe for comfort in sizzling summer. So here it is.
Enjoy your day, stay safe and if you are in the winter zone stay warm.
Baked pasta with Brussels sprout and broccoli.
for the pasta
- 1 pack pasta spirals
- 6-8 cups drinking water
- salt to taste
for the sauce
- 1 tbsp butter unsalted
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 4 tbsp oats flour se whole wheat flour if you domt have oats flour
- 2 cups low fat milk
- 1/2 tsp oregano finely chopped
the winter veggies
- 1 cup broccoli florets
- 1 cup Brussels sprouts
toppings to bake
- 1/2 tsp butter
- 3 tbsp Parmesan cheese grated
- 3 tbsp breadcrumbs
to cook the pasta
- In a large pot bring the water up to a boil.
- Once the water is at a rolling boil add salt and the dry pasta.
- Based on the cooking time of the pasta cut, test the pasta and drain when slightly under. Set aside till the other ingredients are ready.
for the white sauce - bechamel
- In a nonstick saucepan, heat the butter and add in the garlic. as the garlic starts sizzling, add the oats flour and roast till it attains a cooked aroma.
- Now add milk half cup at a time and whisk till it is smooth with no lumps.
- Add the rest of the milk and cook it down till it is honey consistency.
- Stir in the oregano and crushed pepper and the white sauce( bechamel ) is ready.
for the veggies
- Heat up the butter in a pan and add the brussels sprouts. Slow roast till one side is golden.
- Now add the broccoli and remove from heat.
- Preheat the oven at 170 degrees.
- In a baking pan, arrange a layer of the cooked pasta followed by some veggies.
- Top it with a generous serving of bechamel.
- Follow up with more pasta and veggies till they are finished and top it with more bechamel.
- Now mix the grated parmesan and the bread crumbs and sprinkle generously.
- Bake the pasta till a golden crust forms and the sauce bubbles up well.
- Serve hot.