Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Pasta Bake

We're nearing the end of the second month of this year
seems like it was just yesterday we celebrated the coming of the new year
how time flies
what it does mean is we're getting closer to spring
now that's something I am eagerly looking forward to
let the countdown begin...

In the meantime, I'm still in my comfort food mode
it's still pretty cold outside
anything with pasta is always good!

Pasta Bake

Beef ragu:
400g minced beef
1 onion, finely chopped
1 celery stick, finely diced
1 carrot, finely diced 
2 cloves garlic, minced 
2 bay leaves
2 tbsp tomato puree
1 x 400g canned chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup water
2 tsp sugar
salt and black pepper 

Heat a little oil in a pan and add the onion, celery and carrot. 
Fry over a medium heat for 10 minutes, until softened and starting to colour.

Stir in the mince and cook until browned.
Add garlic, bay leaves, tomato puree and chopped tomatoes, and cook for 1-2 minutes more. 
Add in the water and reduce the heat and add seasonings. 
Cover the pan and leave to simmer gently for 1 1/2 hours until the meat is tender 
and the sauce has thickened.
Remove the lid and continue cooking for 15 minutes before removing from heat. 
Note: You can make the ragu ahead of time and keep them in the refrigerator for up to a week or frozen for many months.

250g penne pasta
20g butter
3 tbsp flour
2 cup chicken stock
1 clove garlic, finely minced
100g chestnut mushroom, sliced
salt and black pepper

150g grated cheese

Cook the pasta according to pack instructions.
Meanwhile, melt butter in a large pan.
As soon as the butter melts, add the flour and, over a medium heat 
and using a wooden spoon, stir vigorously to make a smooth paste.
Whisk in a little of the stock at a time, stirring continuously 
until you have a smooth, slightly thick sauce.
Add garlic and mushroom and cook for about 1 minute.
Remove from the heat; season with salt and pepper.
Drain the pasta and stir into the sauce.
Spoon the creamy mushroom pasta into a buttered heatproof dish.

Cover the pasta with a thick layer of beef ragu

Finally, sprinkle over the grated cheese (I'm using a combination of Stilton and Cheddar) 
 Bake in 180C oven for about  25 minutes or until golden brown on top

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