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Saturday, October 15, 2011

Pasta Bakes

 Pasta bakes, perfect for lazy days, busy days, quiet days or lazy next day left overs. Easy to make, fast. Tasty and the combinations between ingredients, you can use mean that no two pasta bakes, ever need be the same. I’ve used Kassler a German cured and slightly smoked pork, tuna, chicken and ham. You can throw in all kinds of veggies. Use tomato sauce, white sauce, creamy vodka sauce or cheese sauce, top it with cheese or bread crumbs or both. With a ready in time of 30-40 minutes and the most effort required is turning the dial of your oven, what’s not to love? For even less effort you could use store bought sauces, I normally have several of the powdered sachets from knorr, and there is a jarred tomato and garlic one we like, to hand, just in case. Although I prefer to make my own – on days where you need no fuss and ease, a pasta bake is the perfect answer, it can be whipped up in minutes. Of course there’s nothing stopping you from also adding your store bought sauce! Like I said the sky is your limit.

macaroni and bacon gratin

300 grams macaroni, cooked according to directions, drained

100 grams bacon strips, diced

1 tomato, diced

1 tap Italian seasonings

1 tsp basil

100 grams grated cheese

salt, pepper and cayenne to taste

3 egg yolks at room temperature

125 grams cream

1/8 litre milk

1. Mix the macaroni, bacon and tomato with the herbs and season with the salt and pepper.

 2. Preheat the oven to 200°C (410°F approximately). Mix the cheese egg, cream and milk with a little salt and pepper.

 3. Grease the dish you are using, put in the macaroni with the cheese and cream mix. Bake for the 30 minutes.

 As I said earlier I am all for “shortcuts” after all if it’s good enough for the likes of Jamie Oliver, it should be good enough for us all, especially on those busy days when cooking is the last thing on our minds, I think most of us live busy lives, whether it’s because we work or are stay at home parents. However when I say “shortcuts” this by no means, means take out every night, or pre-cooked, pre-prepared frozen meal or some such. By “shortcuts” I am referring to, store bought pastry or naan bread, jarred tomato sauce, powdered sauces, basically anything which will help reduce cooking times……. I take a dim view on anyone – unless single, buying frozen meals or eating take out everyday. There comes a certain satisfaction out of cooking when you make a meal, even when minimal effort has been applied and I defy anyone even someone who can’t abide being in the kitchen, to tell me that they don’t get some austere satisfaction or sense of pride when they’ve put a meal on the table that everyone has eaten and enjoyed! I guess that’s easy for me to say because I love being in the kitchen, I love buying cookbooks and kitchen gadgets or utensils, I only buy what I’m going to use though. My kitchen is not big enough to buy just anything! Cookbooks on the other hand are bedtime reading for me. I have read them all and once they go on the bookshelf they become points of reference, if I was asked for a recipe I could easily pull one or two books of the shelf and have it for you in a matter of minutes maybe even more than one variation of the same recipe. I’m quite possibly a kitchen zealot in which case I’m in no position to be defying anyone to do anything.

1 comment:

  1. I really do enjoy reading your blog, Bec!! xoxoxoxoxoxo