In an effort to clear out more junk - why do I have ever-increasing piles of junk when all I seem to do is have big clean-ups? - I quite literally tore my way through a pile of magazines that had been gathering dust in the rack under the coffee table. Disturbingly, I discovered some mags that were nearly 12 months old. I turf out the tv guide-y type mags on a regular basis but the foodie ones sit there because I love them so much I'm unable to move them. However my latest big clean-up did give me some good fodder for Ivonne's Magazine Monday event.
This recipe does take awhile to put together but it is sooooo easy so don't let the time factor put you off. It also looks like it has a huge list of ingredients but most, if not all of them, are things you'll have in the fridge or pantry anyway. The one ingredient I needed to add to my shopping list was lamb mince. As well as being easy and economical it's also filling, delicious, makes heaps and tastes even better the second day. We've just about hit the end of our Indian summer here - I suppose it'd be too much to ask for summer to last a full six months so I guess December to the end of April isn't too bad - and this was a big hit with the cooler temps of the last few days. The kids loved it, Hubby was well impressed and I'll be making it again.
Lamb and Pasta Bake
from Good Taste magazine, July 2008
Prep: 20 mins (+ cooling & 20 minutes standing time)
Cooking: 1 hour 10 minutes
2 tsp olive oil
1 brown onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp dried mixed herbs
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
500g lamb mince
1 x 700g bottle passata (tomato pasta sauce)
1 x 400g can diced Italian tomatoes
250g dried rigatoni pasta
1 egg, lightly whisked
35g (1/3 cup) coarsely grated cheddar
Mixed salad leaves, to serve
2 tbsp plain flour
500ml (2 cups) milk, warmed
40g (1/2 cup) coarsely grated cheddar
20g (1/4 cup) shredded parmesan
ground white pepper
2 egg yolks, lightly whisked
1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for 7 minutes or until the onion is soft. Increase heat to high. Add the mixed herbs and cinnamon. Cook, stirring, for 30 seconds or until aromatic.
2. Add the mince and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon to break up any lumps for 7 minutes or until the mince changes colour. Add the passata and tomato. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 25 minutes or until sauce thickens slightly. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large saucepan of salted boiling water following packet direction or until al dente. Drain. Transfer to a large bowl. Set aside to cool slightly. Stir in the egg.
4. To make the cheese sauce, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat until foaming. Remove from heat. Stir in the flour. Place over medium heat and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until the mixture bubbles. Remove from heat. Gradually add the milk, whisking constantly with a balloon whisk until smooth and combined.
5 Place the pan over medium heat. Bring to the boil, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, for 2 minutes or until the sauce thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Remove from heat. Stir in the cheddar and parmesan. Season with salt and white pepper. Set aside to cool slightly. Whisk in the egg yolk.
6. Preheat the oven to 190C. Add the mince mixture to the pasta mixture and stir until well combined. Spread over the base of a 3L (12 cup) capacity baking dish. Pour over the cheese sauce. Top with the cheddar. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden. Set aside for 20 minutes or until set.