Superfood Pasta Al Forno

Recipe of the Week

Seasonal Produce: Purple Sprouting Broccoli & Cavolo Nero

 

I’d consider this a real comfort food for those dreary winter nights, but unlike a lot of creamy pasta dishes, it’s crammed full of vegetables which makes it a slightly healthier option.

What’s really nice about this recipe is that the meat isn’t the main focus of the meal. This recipe would do equally as well without the sausages – so if you’re a vegetarian, or embracing meat-free Mondays, then simply remove the sausages – and hey presto, the perfect friend for a cold night in curled up on the sofa.

Ingredients

200g spelt tagliatelle spinach

2 bundles of purple sprouting broccoli

6 leaves of cavolo nero

250g merguez lamb sausages

75g parmesan, grated

1 mozzarella ball, cut into 1cm pieces

500ml whole milk

4 tbsp unsalted butter

3 1/2 tbsp plain flour

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 tsp nutmeg

Method

Put the pasta, broccoli and cavolo nero in a pan, add boiling water and cook for 5 minutes or until the pasta is cooked. If you’re using a different type of pasta, cook as per the instructions on the packet and add the vegetables 5 minutes before it’s ready.

Drain the pasta and run through with cold water to stop it cooking any further.

At the same time, chop your sausages into 1-2cm slices and fry in a large saucepan with a dash of oil until cooked. Once cooked, remove the sausages with a slotted spoon and place to one side.

In the same frying pan, melt the butter before adding the flour and stirring until combined. Cook the mixture for about a minute making sure you stir constantly to avoid it burning. Then slowly add in the milk, a little bit at a time, and mixing constantly.* Once you’ve added all of the milk, add the garlic and nutmeg and season well. Turn the mixture to a low simmer and allow to cook for 10 minutes. Then add about half of the parmesan and allow to mix in.

Once the sauce is cooked, it’s just a case of combining the ingredients. So, pour the pasta, sausages and vegetables into your chosen dish. I’ve opted for a traditional lasagne dish, but it’s entirely up to you. This is a good meal for putting straight out on the table – so have that in mind when deciding!

Once combined, stir in the mozzarella and pour the white sauce over the top. Then, very carefully, mix everything together, making sure it’s all flattened down enough so that the odd piece of broccoli doesn’t get burnt whist it’s in the oven.

Sprinkle the rest of the parmesan on the top, and put into the oven and cook for 20 minutes at 180 C, or until nicely golden on the top.

*If you rush this part then your sauce will be lumpy – so take your time to combine the milk fully before adding any more. One way to make this easier is to heat the milk slightly beforehand.

 

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