The word Italian brings in the thought of Pizza, pasta, risotto, wine….and Cheese to my mind. Ritu Dalmia who is a famous Italian Chef and her show Italian Khana is never complete without the description of the famous Italian wines. Now I am surely not a person who has any knowledge and inclination for wine but I surely have an interest for the cuisine so I do watch the show for the food and the humour.
Today I take you to the world of baking with a very tasty and healthy Italian recipe. Italian cuisine has become very popular amongst the young and the old so how can my family be spared. We were planning to enjoy an Italian buffet in a place called Fresco but our plans have got delayed and postponed. I had not baked for a while and the upcoming baker in me was asking me to bake and I surely wanted to cook Italian for my elder one as he is quite fond of Italian cuisine. So one of these days I made this recipe to please everyone and the baker in me.
The journey of cooking this was satisfying as the baked dish surely smelled good. My elder one who kept asking me questions through out his eating…which sauce is this, what have you put in that, which cheese have you put in that? The not so confident me kept answering his questions and then at the end I asked him, why are you asking me so many questions? It’s very nice Mummy, that’s why, is what I heard. So I was all collar’s up at the end!!!!
Now that I have boasted so much about the recipe and myself let me tell you the ingredients and the method..
2 cups boiled Fusilli (the screw shaped pasta, I used made Durum wheat pasta)
100 gm grated cheese
for Marinara sauce……
1 large onion chopped
3 garlic pods
1/2 inch piece ginger
2 tomatoes chopped
5-6 tbsp tomato puree
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp basil
1/2 tsp freshly crushed pepper
1/2 tsp chili flakes
salt to taste
evoo for cooking
for spinachy- bechamel sauce (white sauce)…
25 leaves of spinach blanched
7-8 spoons of whole wheat flour
about a cup of milk
1/2 cup of water
salt to taste
freshly crushed pepper
4 tbsp home made butter
Boil the Fusilli in 6-7 cups of water with some salt and a few drops of oil.
For the Marinara sauce..
First take the onions in the pan and then pour EVOO over it, this avoids overheating of the oil and it losing it’s valuable properties. Saute the onions and add crushed or finely chopped ginger-garlic. Cook till the raw smell disappears.
Now add the tomatoes, salt and sugar.
Once the tomatoes are cooked add the tomato puree and the herbs. Mix and switch off the flame.
For Spinachy- Bechamel sauce
In a pan take the butter and add the wheat flour. Roast for a minute but do not let the colour change. Mix the water and milk and add this to the wheat flour stirring continuously so that no lumps are formed. This process has to be done fast so I could not take the pics. Unlike the white sauce made with APF this sauce does not thicken a lot on cooling so one must keep that in mind while making the sauce and checking it’s consistency. Season with salt and black pepper.
Blanch the spinach leaves.
Now we start the layering.
Grease a baking dish. Spread the first layer ..that’s the marinara sauce.
Above the marinara sauce spread the second layer..that’s of fusilli.
Now comes the third layer …spinachy white sauce/ spinachy bechamel sauce.
Finally the cheese..spread the layer of processed cheese or cheese of your choice.
Bake the dish at 200C for about 15 mins or till the top layer melts.
Sending this healthy and tasty preparation to Arundhuti’s Gourmet affair as this was made and served with loads of love to my family & to CFK-Creative food for picky fussy eaters hosted by Sara’s corner and the brainchild of Sharmi, as I found this a very healthy way of adding spinach and other veggies to their diet.