As you’ll all find out as our blog goes on, we really love a lot of the recipes over at Smittenkitchen.com. The recipes aren’t too tough and the food is usually super delicious.
This week’s cheesy pasta recipe is one that we’ve tried a couple of times now and is definitely one of our favourites. It was also the first time Rory made a bechamel sauce! Read on to check it out.
Original recipe is courtesy of smittenkitchen.
- 1 lb (454 g) Rigatoni pasta
- 1 lb (454 g) Pork Sausage, cases removed
- 1 bundle Chinese Broccoli (Kai Lan), cut into 1″ segments
- 2/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 6 ounces (170 g) mozarella cheese
- 2 cups whole milk
- 4 tbl unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 – 1 tsp salt
- Ground black pepper
- 2-4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
Notes: The original recipe calls for broccoli rabe (rapini), but we enjoyed the dish more when we used chinese broccoli. We found the rapini was a bit too bitter for the dish. As for sausage, smittenkitchen suggests italian style, but you could probably get away with almost any style. We find that the sausage really anchors the flavor, so this may be the easiest way to change the feel of the dish (for reference, we’ve used hot italian sausage and leek sausage and loved both). Finally, be a bit careful when salting the bechamel sauce. The suggested 1/2 tsp of salt is a bit low, but you shouldn’t worry about the sauce being undersalted – the sausage and parmesan will add a lot of the salt for you when you combine everything.
First off, get some salted water boiling for the pasta and greens. As well, heat up a pan on medium-high heat with some olive oil and remove the casings from your sausage. Add the sausage to the pan and break it up into smaller chunks – don’t worry if it sticks, we’ll use the pan for the bechamel sauce and the stuck bits will come off in the sauce. After about 5 minutes, remove the sausage and set it aside.
Once your water is boiling, add your pasta and cook for the suggested cooking time, minus 5 minutes. Once the time is up, add your greens and cook for another 5 minutes. Drain everything together.
At this point, preheat your oven to 400 F (205 C).
Now for the bechamel. If there was about 1 tbl of fat drippings left in the pan from the sausage, you can cut the butter by 1 tbl. Add your butter to the pan on medium heat, and once melted, slowly whisk in the flour. Once the flour is mixed, slowly start to add the milk, whisking constantly. You want to make sure each splash is well mixed before adding the next.
At this point, you’re almost done – combine the pasta, greens, sausage, mozarella, half the parmesan, and the bechamel into a large bowl and mix it well. Add the mixture to a baking dish and cover it with the rest of the parmesan. Pop it into the oven for 20-30 minutes and you’ve got yourself a delicious pasta bake!
As always, let us know if you give the recipe a try!