My Family’s Favourite Pasta Bake..

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pasta bake 2

I love lasagne, but I only make it once in a blue moon – I find all that layering tiresome, what with me being bone idle and all.. So I put my ‘make life easier’ powers to work and came up with this little gem. It has all the flavour of lasagne with none of the hassle. Everyone in our house loves it – it has that real comfort-food vibe. Next time you fancy lasagne, give this a go instead and see how you get on..

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EQUIPMENT:

  • A microwavable bowl
  • A large, oven-proof serving dish
  • a balloon whisk
  • Cheese grater

INGREDIENTS: The dish I use here will feed 4 people generously.

  • One batch of my Bolognaise recipe (it’s a serious bonus if you happen to have this in the freezer, ready to go..)http://eatingforireland.com/recipe/bolonaise-sauce/
  • 400ml cold milk
  • 50g of  butter
  • 50g plain flour
  • a teaspoonful of mustard powder (or made mustard if you don’t do the powdered type)
  • Finely ground black pepper
  • 75g of cheddar cheese grated (or 50g cheddar and 25g Parmesan if you prefer)
  • Pasta shapes of your choice – we like Spiralini..

METHOD:

  • Keep the Bolognaise sauce bubbling gently while you’re getting the rest of the recipe ready

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  • Measure the pasta shapes into your chosen dish until it’s about 2/3rds full (this is why I don’t give you an amount in the ingredients section) See picture below..
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Measure the pasta shapes depending on the size of your serving dish, and how many lucky people you want to feed..

  • Put the pasta on to cook until it’s al dente, then strain, saving some of the cooking liquid.
  • Make the cheese sauce while the pasta is cooking:
  • Measure the butter into the bowl, microwave it for about 45 seconds until it’s melted, then add the flour, pepper and mustard powder.
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Add the flour, mustard powder and pepper to the melted butter

  • Mix in well with the whisk. It will look horribly lumpy, but have faith..

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  • Add a large splash of the milk and whisk in until it becomes smooth ( a matter of seconds)
  • Then whisk in 1/2 of the remaining milk, and give it 1 minute in the microwave; stir and cook it at 1 minute intervals until it thickens.

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  • Add the rest of the milk and whisk in, then add half of the cheese and let it melt.

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  • Put the pasta into the serving dish.
  • Add 2-3 large ladles of the Bolognaise sauce and mix in gently.

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  • pour the cheese sauce over the pasta so it’s in a fairly even layer – it will sink down to mingle with the bolognaise while it’s cooking.

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  • sprinkle over the remaining cheese.
  • Put the dish onto a baking tray and give it 10-15 minutes in a hot (180 degrees) oven, until the cheese has melted and browned a little, and the sauce is bubbling.

 

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  • Serve immediately with some garlic bread and a green salad.

NOTES:

  • This is a seriously good-value dish – it uses less than half the Bolognaise sauce because it is mixed into the pasta, leaving you enough to freeze for another day.
  • I advise keeping some of the pasta cooking water because sometimes the cheese sauce gets too thick, so you can add some of this liquid to thin it to your taste. (It’s what the Italians do, after all)

 

About

I started writing down recipes in an old copybook when I was about 16. With 6 children at home, my Mother was always glad of a hand in the kitchen, and really allowed us to experiment - as long as we washed up afterwards, and left the kitchen immaculate! Having a tidy kitchen has followed me through my life, as has the habit of writing down my favourite recipes; except that these days I write them for my website, and add photographs when I can. The website really started when it occurred to me that my daughter might like to have these recipes when I've forgotten them. In my early days of cooking for family and friends, I used to phone my Mum all the time to ask her for the recipe for some of our favourite family dinners. She rarely had a recipe to hand - I think, like me, she made a lot of it up as she went along.. So welcome to Eating for Ireland - these are the recipes that my friends and family having been eating these past 40 years.. yes, I truly am ancient! They are tried and tested, and have worked for me for all that time - I have updated them as new ingredients became available - I really hope you'll find something that you can make into a family favourite of your own. You don't have to tell anyone where you found these great new dishes that you're serving up - it can be our little secret, but I'd really love it if you could give me a sneaky 'follow' on Facebook and Instagram.. So off you go - have a good rummage around, you're bound to find something new! My sincere thanks to all of you who have found a recipe that you liked and dropped me a line to tell me - I really do love to hear from you! Happy Cooking! Becks xx

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