Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Lentil Pasta Bake

One of our favourite dinners is this lentil pasta bake - it's filling, tasty, and healthy (well, except the cheese sauce, shh!), and also inexpensive to make. We like to make our dinners last two nights, so we only have to cook every second day (it's much easier to drag yourself to the gym when you know dinner is only a microwave reheat away afterwards, as opposed to full cook time!). This recipe definitely does that - in fact, it will probably last three nights.

The unfortunate part is that it does take a while to prepare (though you could probably squeeze some shortcuts in, and you could definitely prepare it ahead then just bake it in time for dinner) - and it uses a lot of dishes! One for the veges/tomato sauce, one for lentils, one for pasta, one for the cheese sauce, and one to bake it in. Totally worth it, though. Especially if you have a dishwasher! ;-)

Lentils are great - they add substance to this dish, make it hearty and filling - I guess they sort of fill in for meat in what could otherwise be a mince dish (not that you couldn't add meat, but you don't miss it).

Lentil Pasta Bake (courtesy of Matthew!)
2 onions, diced
a sprig rosemary, finely chopped
Olive oil
1 clove garlic
3 Tbsp mixed herbs
½ head of broccoli, chopped (add other veg if you like, we had some cauliflower as well)
1 bunch of spinach/silverbeet
2 tins chopped tomatoes
110g tomato paste
Salt and pepper
100g butter
5 Tbsp flour
1L milk
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
300g grated cheese
1 cup dried brown lentils
2 bay leaves
350g pasta
Grated cheese and breadcrumbs to top

Cook lentils with bay leaves until tender, up to 45 minutes (depending on the type). Drain and remove bay leaves.

While lentils are cooking, fry onions and rosemary in olive oil until soft. Add garlic, the rest of the herbs and the broccoli. Cook for a couple of minutes, stirring regularly, then add spinach/silverbeet until wilted. Add tinned tomatoes and tomato paste, and cook on low heat for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season to taste.

Melt butter in a pan over medium heat. Add flour, stir for about a minute, then turn heat down to low and slowly add milk, stirring. Stir in grated cheese and mustard, and season to taste.

Preheat oven to 200 degrees celcius. Cook pasta, then drain. Mix tomato sauce with pasta, pour into a large baking dish, cover with the lentils, then top with the cheese sauce and extra grated cheese and breadcrumbs as desired. Bake for 10-15 minutes until browning and bubbling.

Perfect comfort food for an awful stormy day!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this recipe - exactly what I was looking for!


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