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2009 Week 2: Seasonal Vege Pasta Bake


Seasonal Vege Pasta Bake

Ingredients:
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
1 tsp oil
1 carrot, grated 
1/2 capsicum, diced
400g can chopped tomatoes
1 cup vegetable (or other) stock 
1/2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 heaped Tbsp tomato paste
1 and a 1/2 Tbsp pesto
2 heaped Tbsp red lentils 
1/2 tsp sugar
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups dry macaroni or penne pasta

For the sauce:
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp plain flour
2 cups low-fat milk
100g grated cheese 
1/2 tsp mustard powder
pinch of cayenne pepper
Optional - 185gm tin of tuna in water (drained)

Instructions:
Heat the oil in a medium pan or frying pan and briefly sauté the onion, garlic, celery and grated carrot for approximately one minute.
Mix in the tomatoes, stock, tomato paste, sugar, Worcestershire sauce, pesto and lentils and simmer gently for 20 minutes, or until the lentils are beginning to swell and become tender (they'll continue cooking in the oven) and the sauce is thickened. After 15 minutes of simmering, add the capsicum and tuna (if using).

While the vegetable sauce is cooking, preheat the oven to 200ýC.

Bring a pan of water to the boil and cook the pasta according to packet directions.

Prepare the white sauce for the topping:  Heat the oil in a saucepan, then use a whisk to mix the flour into the oil. Gradually whisk in the milk, adding it a little at a time, whisking well after each addition to ensure a lump-free sauce. When all the milk has been added, use a wooden spoon to stir the sauce over a gentle heat until it thickens. Stir using circular and figure of eight motions so the sauce doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan, and don't let it boil. Stir in the cayenne pepper, mustard powder and half of the cheese and stir until melted. When thick enough to coat the back of the wooden spoon, season lightly with salt and pepper then set aside.

To assemble the dish, place the well-drained, cooked pasta into the bottom of a heatproof casserole or serving dish. Spoon over the vegetable sauce and then spoon the white sauce on top. Sprinkle with the remaining grated cheese and bake for 20 minutes, or until piping hot and golden on top.

Click here to see pics from this episode!


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