|Pasticcio with Spinach & feta, served with a side salad|
Mr E & I tried it for the first time back in the depths of winter and thoroughly enjoyed it, so rather than keeping this tasty dish to ourselves, I thought I'd share it with you. There is a little preparation involved, but once it's in the oven you can pop your feet up for half an hour!
|Straight out of the oven, Pasticcio with Spinach & Feta|
It's brimming with nutrients from the iron and vitamins C & K in the spinach and the lycopein found in the tomatoes. If your interested in reading a little more about spinach, have a look here, and here is my 'all about tomato' page. And of course the feta, crème fraiche and fromage frais is packed full of calcium. If you're a little put off by the quantity of dairy products in this, don't forget you can buy low fat versions which work just as well. And I'm led to believe, having watched a recent BBC documentary on the foods we eat, that dairy fats aren't quite as bad for us as we were once led to believe!! Have a read here if you'd like to learn a little more.
|The Recipe Book|
The recipe comes from a vegetarian cookbook I got some years. I have adjusted it slightly to suit our own particular tastes. Now, the recipe ingredients lists frozen spinach. I'd never realised you could buy it frozen, but of course you can. I've found it so useful having a little frozen spinach to hand, and because it's frozen those nutrients are held in 'suspended animation', if you know what I mean. Though, if you prefer to use fresh spinach, I'm sure it would work just as well.
So here it is, it's really filling and tasty (of course - would I bring you anything that didn't taste good).
PS, with your remaining egg whites, perhaps try making Langues du Chat biscuits here.
Pasticcio with Spinach & Feta Yum
Serves 2, generously
Cost: £2.98, that's £1.49 each
Time: 25 minutes prep, plus 35 - 40 minutes oven cooking time
Adapted from: Good Housekeeping, Step-by-Step Vegetarian Cookbook
You will need
Baking dish with at least 1 pint capacity
400g tinned tomatoes }
Pinch of sugar }
Pinch of salt } For the rich tomato sauce.
1 tsp garlic puree }
2 tsp tomato puree }
1 tsp dried basil (or fresh) }
100g dried pasta, such as penne or shells. We used conchiglie, shells
2 tsp olive oil
200g frozen spinach, defrosted and squeezed to remove any excess liquid
1 tsp garlic puree
1 dessert spoon, thyme leaves
pepper (no salt required due to the saltiness from the feta)
110g feta, cubed
110g fromage frais
110g crème fraiche
2 egg yolks
How to make it
1 Pre-heat the oven to 190c / Fan 180c / Gas 5. Fill a large pan 3/4 with water and pop on hob to bring to the boil ready to cook the pasta.
2. Make the rich tomato sauce. Pop the tomatoes, sugar, salt, garlic puree, tomato puree and basil in a heavy based pan. Stir and pop on a medium heat. Reduce the temperature to low once the tomato sauce begins to boil. Cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring periodically.
3. Once the water in the large pan is boiling, add the pasta. Give it a quick stir and bring it back to the boil. Cook according to packet instructions until al-dente. This is usually about 10 minutes. Once cooked, strain and mix with a little olive oil to prevent the pasta from sticking.
4. In a good size bowl, mix together the fromage frais, crème fraiche, egg yolks and half of the feta cheese. Blend together.
5. In a frying pan, cook the chopped onion until softened (about 10 minutes). Add the spinach and mix. Add the garlic, thyme and pepper and mix again. Cook for 3-4 minutes to warm the spinach through.
6. Add the remaining feta cheese to the tomato sauce. Add the pasta to the spinach mixture. Pour the tomato sauce over and toss together using two spoons. Warm through gently.
7. Place your baking dish onto a tray (in case of spillages). Decant the pasta and spinach mixture into the baking dish. Pour the diary mixture over, encouraging it down through the pasta mixture.
8. Place into the oven & cook for 35 - 40 minutes. If you find the dish is browning a little too much, you may need to cover it with tin foil for the remaining cooking time. Perhaps serve with a green salad.