Posted by: Anja | March 10, 2011

Pasta al Forno Bianco

The title of this dish is misleading to my mind. Everything that has Pasta al in it, should be light and fresh. I mean, come on, it’s Italian food. Italian food isn’t heavy, is it? It is! When the word bechamel pops up: Beware, it’s getting heavy! :D

That doesn’t mean that the food is bad – in contrast, it’s actually pretty good. Lasagna for example is also made with bechamel. It just means that you can not eat as much as you usually would, because it’s just that much more heavy. I won’t even try to hide the fact that this recipe is a calorie bomb so to speak, there are times when comfort food is needed and then the calories don’t count. Also, these recipes are really awesome if you’re cooking for many people, as you don’t need to cook as much as you normally would. :P

Pasta al Forno Bianco
idea adapted from Italian Food Forever

80g butter
80g flour
600ml milk
500g penne pasta
150g of broccoli (just heads)
5 slices of bacon
100g of gruyère cheese
120g of swiss cheese
black pepper
70g of parmesan
70g of bread crumbs
2 tablespoons of olive oil

First step: Preheat the oven to 200°C. In a medium sized pot, heat the butter over low-medium heat. Simultaneously, bring a large pot of water to a boil. When the butter is melted, add the flour and whisk to combine. Add the milk and whisk constantly to combine everything, there should be no clumps in the bechamel! With that sauce, it is important to actually never stop stirring, so whatever you’re doing, stir every 30 secs at least and don’t let it get to the boiling point!

Second step: When you’re water is boiling, add salt and the penne. Cut the broccoli into mouth-sized pieces. Grate the swiss and gruyère cheese and add them to your bechamel sauce. Season with a little bit salt and a generous amount of black pepper. Don’t forget the stirring! Separately, grate the parmesan and set aside in a small bowl. When the pasta has about five minutes left, add the broccoli. Let cook for another 2-3 minutes and then drain.

Third step: Add the bread crumbs and the olive oil to the parmesan and use a fork to combine everything. It should clump slightly together. Set aside. Pour the broccoli and pasta into a casserole dish. Spread the bacon slices on top. Pour the cheese bechamel on top of your prettily arranged ingredients and sprinkle the parmesan crumbs on top of that. Put the casserole into the oven for 20-30 minutes until  it’s slightly golden on top. Enjoy warm.

This dish also keeps for 1-2 days in the refrigerator when cooled down. It can easily be reheated in the microwave and it doesn’t lose much taste.


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