pasta-pie-2

I can never judge how much pasta to make for a meal. It’s always too much, until I try and hold back. Then it’s always far too little. So I usually stick with doing too much, and have the leftovers for lunch the next day. But sometimes the leftovers seem a bit too boring, or we already have lunch plans, so I need to think up a better use for them.

So I thought I’d give a try to creating a pasta pie. I couldn’t work out how to approach this, or if it would work at all. In the end I opted for a sort of eggy quiche mix, but based on a cheese roux-based sauce to make everything cheesier and firmer. Cheese and pasta are great bedfellows anyway, and the pasta had already been flavoured with pesto for dinner so any other pie combo seemed wrong. Everything goes with quiche (supposedly), so this was a good starting place.

The results were… interesting. It wasn’t offensive, or disgusting. But considering the amount of cheese and eggs I’d put in, I should have gone crazy for it. There was a lot of carbs going on, and it was very stodgy. And not the good kind of stodgy (like a sticky, slightly undercooked, apple crumble deliciousness stodgy). Just heavy and carby. It didn’t have much jazz, and it wasn’t oozing cheese like I wanted.

Maybe the roux and the excess cheese in it are what made this wrong? It may have been the cheeses I was using (cheddar + comte – cheddar for mature flavour and melty goodness, comte for nuttiness and stringy goodness). Maybe if I had gone for an out-and-out quiche it would have been lighter, eggier, cheesier, and better? I still can’t see this overcoming the excessive carbs though. Maybe the penne pasta I used was too thick, and something thinner was needed, or just less pasta altogether?

Contrary to what I expected – the veg, tuna & pesto I’d used earlier in the pasta had no influence on the success or failure of the dish. It was subtle and worked, although was often lost entirely in some bites. When I could taste the tuna, it was enjoyable. But certainly not enough of it to carry through the entire pie properly.

pasta-pie-1

Although this is ‘development’, I’m not sure I’ll be revisiting this any time soon, so I’m going to do something I don’t plan on doing very often – posting the recipe. It works as a standard pasta dish if you just ignore the latter pie-making stage! But I’m posting it so you guys can see what I did and pick holes in it.

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Development: Pasta Pie

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes

Ingredients

  • 150 g Penne pasta
  • ½ Onion sliced
  • ½ Red bell pepper diced
  • ½ Yellow bell pepper diced
  • 1 Tin of tuna drained
  • 100 g Sweetcorn
  • 20 g Pesto
  • 1 Tbsp Parsley chopped
  • Drizzle olive oil
  • ---For the pie mixture---
  • 25 g Unsalted butter
  • 25 g Plain flour
  • 200 ml Milk
  • 50 g Cheddar cheese grated
  • 50 g Comte cheese grated
  • 3 Large eggs beaten

Instructions

  1. Preheat an oven to 180/350/gas 4.
  2. Boil the pasta as per packet instructions
  3. Fry the onion in a little oil over a medium heat until soft, 4-6 minutes.
  4. Add the peppers and fry for a little longer until just tender, 2-3 minutes.
  5. Add tuna and fry for a further minute to warm through.
  6. Remove to a dish and mix with sweetcorn, pesto, and parsley. Drizzle with a little olive oil, then season to taste (add more pesto, parsley, salt and pepper to taste).
  7. For the pie: Heat the butter in a saucepan over a medium heat until melted and just foaming.
  8. Mix in the flour to form a roux paste and cook for 3-4 minutes to remove the excess flour flavour.
  9. Add the milk to the roux, very little at a time. Ensure the milk is completely incorporated each time before adding more, otherwise lumps will form.
  10. Once a viscous sauce is achieved, stop adding more milk and mix in the cheese.
  11. Season to taste, then add in the eggs a little at a time.
  12. Mix together with the pasta, place in a greased pan, and bake in the oven for ~25 minutes until cooked through.

Recipe Notes

The pie bit wasn't that great, but the pasta salad is very easy and enjoyable.

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