Spinach & Pasta Bake

Here is another variant of the béchamel sauce. This time a sauce mornay, cheese sauce to you, dear. This is one of the quickest and easiest bakes to make but is packed with taste, especially if you use really fresh organic spinach from your own garden. It is even better if you treat yourself to some fresh pasta. If you have no garden and no fresh pasta do not despair, dry pasta is fine and you can even get away with frozen spinach at a pinch.

Ingredients

8oz (225g) pasta shells
8oz (225g) fresh spinach
1 medium onion
2 cloves garlic 
olive oil 
1 pint béchamel sauce
4oz (100g) grated cheese

Method

  1. Half fill a large pan with cold water, add a good shake of salt and bring to the boil. Add the pasta, stirring once to make sure the pasta is separated. Bring back to the boil and turn down the heat slightly so the water boils fairly vigorously. Partially cover and leave to cook for about 10 minutes until just cooked or 'al dente'. As soon as it is cooked, drain in a colander and then put it back into the hot pan to keep warm. If you are using fresh pasta it will only take 3 minutes to cook.
  2. Peel and slice the onion, peel and crush or finely chop the garlic and fry in a little olive oil until soft. Keep to one side.
  3. Wash and shred the spinach.
  4. Make the béchamel sauce and whilst it is hot add 3oz (75g) of the grated cheese, mixing it in to the sauce.
  5. Mix the cooked pasta with the spinach, onion and garlic in an oven proof dish and pour over the sauce. Stir it all together then top with the remaining 1 oz (25g) of grated cheese and cook at 190°C 375°F Gas Mark 5 for 20 minutes.
  6. Delicious on its own for a substantial lunch or with a tomato and basil salad, good olive oil and a glass of your favourite Italian red wine.

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