Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Cauliflower Pasta Bake

I've noticed of late that pasta bake type recipes don't seem to call for a roux but a simple sour cream and cheese concoction.....well, I just don't know about it. Call me old fashioned I guess but I don't mind mixing a little butter and flour together, then stirring in the milk until it starts to thicken's not that hard. So here is a simple pasta bake that is quick and easy to make and your kids are gonna love it!


1/2  large  or 1 whole small cauliflower, chopped into florets
1 box of Penne Regate Pasta (Barilla brand) SORRY! I had typed 375g but is actually a 500g pack!
50g butter
50g plain flour
2 cups milk (we use lite)
200 g of grated parmesan (measured into 100g lots)
2 pieces of day old bread chopped into fine bread crumbs (we use wholemeal bread)
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
salt and pepper


Place large pot of water on to boil. 

Pop oven on to 190C and have large dish for pasta ready (no need to grease)

Make your bread crumbs and set aside. Place butter in a medium saucepan and place on stove (don't turn on flame just yet)

Have milk in a jug ready to pour.

Mix bread crumbs, 100g cheese and the parsley together and set aside.

When water starts boiling set timer for 11 minutes and pop pasta and cauliflower into pot. Now put the butter over a low heat. When melted take off heat and add flour until combined and smooth. Put back on heat and add milk, slowly, slowly, combining as you go at the start. Empty milk into saucepan and keep stirring. Turn up the heat a little. You don't want it to boil but if the heat is too low it will take a while for it to thicken so I usually adjust the temp as I go. It should just be ready at the 11 minute mark! When thickened turn off heat and add the other 100g of cheese plus salt and pepper. Stir to melt the cheese. Drain your pasta and cauliflower. Place them in your large dish. Pour over the cheese sauce and combine well. Sprinkle with the cheese, breadcrumb and parsley mix. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Place in the oven and cook for 20 to 25 minutes until nice and browned on the top.

I actually forgot to include the parsley when I took photos for this dish - it tastes fine either way : )

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Broccoli Pesto with Pappadelle....A Winter Warmer for 2

I had every intention of posting this recipe last week so I would keep to my 1 recipe a month deal I had with myself but alas I have let it only a few days : )

I came across this recipe last Summer and have since made it so many times that I now make it to exactly how we like pesto. When I say "we" I mean my husband and I. Our kids don't like this dish one bit. I thought they would love its creaminess and its cheesiness but they often took one look at the "green pasta" that was presented in front of them and ask for a ham sandwich instead. So now this has become a dish for us and the kids get fish fingers with salad. It's a win/win : )

Broccoli Pesto with Pappadelle


About 300g of Pappadelle pasta (or enough for 2 people)

Extra virgin olive oil
1 head of broccoli, cut into florets
1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
1 small clove of garlic, chopped
1 cup parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon chopped oregano
1/3 cup pouring cream
salt and pepper

Place a large pot of water on to boil. If you have the room, pop another pot of water on to boil too. If not then, read on.  When water is boiling, throw in broccoli florets and boil for 4 minutes then pull out using a slotted spoon and place in a bowl. Keep water boiling. Add a dash of salt and throw in the pasta. Set timer as per packet instructions. The brand I use takes 10 minutes. Once pasta is in, make your pesto with a food processor. Throw in 3 teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil; 3/4 of the broccoli; the toasted pine nuts, the garlic;  1/2 the cheese and all the oregano. Process until it looks like tapenade. This is how we like it but you can add more cheese or more oil or more garlic to suit your taste : )

When there is about 6 minutes left on the pasta timer add a good splash of extra virgin olive oil to a frying pan over very low heat and add the pesto. Keep it moving with a wooden spoon and heat through. Drain the pasta very well and add it to the pesto in the frying pan along with a dash of salt and pepper (Go lightly with the salt as it will be quite salty from the cheese) and finish with the extra broccoli pieces and the cream. Mix through well then place in 2 bowls. Top with the remaining cheese and I like to add another dash of salt and pepper......So good!