Cauliflower Pasta Nests

Cauliflower Pasta Nests 5.1To celebrate the spring season I thought nests would be a great way to serve this baked spaghetti recipe. Continue reading

Maybe because growing up we never ate much pasta, but it’s not something I don’t cook too often, when I do instead, I often make a pasta bake. Last week I was looking at some recipes and fell across this recipe on the swissmilk site (recipe in French). I liked the visual side of and decided to make my own version; I used veggies instead of herbs, and spaghetti instead of the ‘Chinese’ noodles they used in the recipe. I wanted to use whole-wheat pasta, and that’s why I used spaghetti as I didn’t really have an alternative in my local grocery store. For this recipe, the best types of pasta you can use are the fine ones like vermicelli, spaghettini, …

I wish you all a happy Easter!

 

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Cauliflower Pasta Nests

Recipe for 4

Prep time: 10-15 min

Cook time: 25-30 min

 

Ingredients:

280 g spaghetti (preferably the fine ones, I used normal ones because I wanted to use the whole wheat kind and choice was limited

2 dl milk + 2-3 tbsp. extra milk

2 dl cream (I used 1/2 fat)

200 g cauliflower florets

2 tbsp. slivered almonds.

2 eggs

80 g grated Parmesan cheese

Salt and pepper

 

Recipe:

Heat oven at 180°C.

Cook the pasta al dente in salted boiling water and drain.

Meanwhile chop the cauliflower florets into small pieces. Add it to the pasta once it’s cooked.

Using a fork roll the pasta into eight nests and place them in a baking dish one next to the other. Whatever chopped cauliflower and pine nuts are left in the pan, add it on top of the pasta nests

In a small bowl combine the breadcrumbs, 20 g of the grated Parmesan, almonds and milk. Mix them, and set aside.

In a larger bowl combine the cream, milk, eggs, 60 g of the grated cheese, pepper, and optionally salt. Mix and pour it on the pasta. If like me, your dish is a little too wide the nests might rise above the milk and cream mix, just press it down a little.

On top of the nests, evenly sprinkle the soaked almonds, breadcrumbs and cheese.

Bake in the over for about 20 min and enjoy!

Broccoli Gorgonzola and Walnut Pasta Bake + My Day at Gusta il Borgo 2013 event

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As I mentioned last week, last Saturday I attended the enogastronomic walk “Gusta in Borgo 2013” Continue reading

which is an event organised by the association of the “Amis da la Forcheta” ( the term is in our Italian derived dialect and in English it translates as the “friends of the fork” ). I was really looking forward to the event and I was so right. I met up with my boyfriend Stefano and an old friend of ours Andreas for coffee before we headed to the departure point. We were among the last ones to depart so the sun was already up and it was warm. Throughout the walk there were nine spots where we enjoyed all kinds of treats: from coffee and a filled croissant, to beer and scrambled eggs and bacon, to cheese and wine, fried fish and veggies, risotto…

Here are a few pictures of the day. We walked through the nine stops with our little bags containing the tasting glass which was to be pulled out each time we saw a tent and a bunch of people around it. My advice is that if you have the possibility to attend such an event, it is really worth participating; there is a great ambience, you encourage local products and walking is good for the mind and the body. In case there is nothing in your area, come and join Gusta il Borgo next year!

These were my two adventure companions.

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 This was the second stop where we tasted local beer with scrambled eggs and bacon. I don’t really drink beer but this one was an exception, it had a refined taste and the gas comes from natural fermentation. IMG_0828

 

The third stop was a bit of a walk and with the sun hitting it was warm but the reward was worth the effort, at least this is the way I see it. My friend Andreas (in the blue shirt) instead could have done with having a taxi driving him from one stop to the other.

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This spot was in the middle of the town of Ascona. We Had some more wine and goat cheese with a raw pumpkin carpaccio and goat cheese dried meat.

 

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This stop I particularly liked because the products came from my valley (Valle Maggia) and behind the counters I found some acquaintances.

 

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Venison tartar, venison dried meat and a small dark bread roll.

 

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This is the Terreni alla Maggia and among other products they produce rice (they have the northernmost rice cultivation in Europe). We had a simple but delicious risotto.

 

 

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This is how our beautiful day went. At the arrival we had one more drink and we headed to my place and ended the day with the same tastin glass that had accompanied us throughout the day. The only difference was the content…

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About the pasta bake:

The pasta bake is an ancient recipe which dates back to the middle ages. In the beginning the dish was served at banquets but soon the recipe spread out to the general population and still today is it seen as a festive dish in Italy. There is no basic recipe and the dish is subject to personal taste and the available ingredients (source http://thepaddingtonfoodie.com/2013/02/13/pasticcio-di-pasta-al-forno-a-pasta-bake-by-any-other-name/ ).

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Broccoli Gorgonzola and Walnut Pasta Bake

 

Recipe for 2

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: 30 min

Ingredients :

160g short pasta (fusilli, penne…)

160g of small broccoli florets

1 onion

1 knob of butter + more for greasing the baking dish and to sprinkle on top of the pasta bake

a pinch freshly grated nutmeg

1 tsp flour

100g Gorgonzola

6 tbsp cream, it shouldn’t be too liquid

Salt and pepper

1 tbsp breadcrumbs

1 tbsp grated Parmesan

12 walnut kernels, chopped

 

Recipe :

Heat oven at 200°C

Cook the pasta until almost ready that is make it very al dente. Towards the last 3-4 of the cooking process throw in the broccoli florets to blanch. Set aside.

Chop the onion and cut the Gorgonzola into cubes.

In a pan melt the butter, add the onion and sweat for 4-5 min. Cook on a medium heat until the onion is translucent. Reduce the heat and add the cream, the flour, the grated nutmeg, the pepper and the Gorgonzola . Stir occasionally until the cheese has melted, about 4-5 min . Taste and add salt if needed. Add the pasta to the pan and mix it in the sauce.

Grease an oven proof dish and add the pasta. On top sprinkle the grated Parmesan, the breadcrumbs and the chopped walnut kernels. Sprinkle a few bits of butter on top and place in the oven for about 15-20 minutes or until the surface is nice and brown. Serve hot.