Friday, 26 October 2012

lincolnshire pasta al gratin



... so a little weather update for those of you not native to the British Isles... most of the country has been shrouded in the most peculiar thick fog this week... something to do with the warm air on the land pulling the cool air in from the sea... but it has covered the whole country... and it's not been cold either but weirdly mild... talk about global weirding... and today suddenly the temperature dropped to proper winter cold, we've even been promised our first touch of snow this weekend... quite, quite peculiar...

... and i've put it off for ages but I think now is finally the time to sort through the big basket of walking boots, summer sandals and light-weight rain-shower macs, pack them away for the winter and replace them with wooly hats, gloves and scarves... does this make me sound like i'm some kind of uber-organised domestic god, because i'm not. Basically I will empty the basket into a big zip-lock back and then empty another zip-lock back into the basket... I may make an initial thing of folding it all in neatly but that will last for a day, maybe two at the most... but oooh I do love the colder winter months, particularly the carbs...


lincolnshire pasta al gratin
this Macaroni Cheese is a classic Italian dish and in Northern Italy, Fontina and Parmesan cheeses would be used but obviously I’m giving it a Lincolnshire twist so am substituting the Parmesan with a vintage Lincolnshire Poacher and the Fontina for the Cote Hill Yellow which, with it’s creamy texture should add a wonderfully velvety texture to the final dish. The real trick to this however is making a rich bechamel sauce, if you’re patient with this and also ensure that you drain the pasta when it’s still slightly undercooked you will create a mac n cheese worthy of a chilly Autumn evening… 


Pasta al Gratin – adapted from an Anna del Conte recipe - serves 2 hungry belly’s

4oz Cote Hill Yellow – grated

4oz Vintage Lincolnshire Poacher – grated

350g penne or macaroni pasta

for the béchamel
750ml full fat milk
75g unsalted butter
2oz plain flour
salt and freshly ground pepper

to make the béchamel sauce, heat the milk until hot but not boiling, then remove from the heat

in another saucepan, melt the butter, then remove from the heat and stir in the flour.  Put the pan back on a gentle heat and cook the flour, stirring continuously for about a minute

take the pan off the heat again and add a little of the milk, continuing to stir. Adding the milk slowly and stirring like this will ensure no lumps form.  Continue to add the milk a little at a time until it is al encorporated, then return the pan to the heat and cook until the sauce comes to the boil, season and gently cook for a few minutes more

now’s the stage that you’re going to turn this from a regular béchamel into an incredible velvety sauce by placing the pan into a larger pan of boiling water, creating a ‘bain-marie’ and leaving the sauce to cook very, very gently for 30 minutes.

add the chesses and stir

cook the pasta in plenty of boiling, salted water until very al dente and then drain thoroughly

heat the oven to 180C

take a shallow baking dish and spread a little of the cheesy sauce on the bottom, then add the pasta and finally pour over the rest of the sauce. Bake for 30 minutes until the pasta at the top begin to brown

eat and of course, enjoy!

22 comments:

  1. This pasta is so cheesy...looks so delicious!!!!

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  2. This sounds so decadent and just perfect for this chilly weekend. I'm not going to be able to think of anything other than a steaming bowl macaroni cheese for the rest of the day!

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  3. I was back visiting family last week and it was indeed rather soggy - but still wonderful :) Love this pasta and more to the point my picky eater will inhale this - so thank you!
    Mary x

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  4. I LOVE the look of this Dom, so brilliant you used your local cheeses... I wish I could grab it from the screen and have a bite! Great stuff Dom x

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  5. a comforting food..lovely pasta.

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  6. Mmmmm pasta al forno is always a winner.

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  7. What's that expression? Great minds... I have spent much of this morning thinking about macaroni and cheese, but not entirely of the traditional type. I intend to make macaroni that is combined with cheese as a side for supper tonight. There will be no bechamel, and no baking. Stand by for details on the 11 pm news.

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  8. I love the British twist on this, and it looks so crisp and crunchy along the sides, yum!

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  9. That is a great recipe Dom, warming, comforting and tasty all in one dish. Good luck with the basket sorting ;0)

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  10. Oh yes please Dom! Perfect for these chilly days.

    Wish I had a Dom to cook for me occasionally :(

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  11. mmm Pasta is perfect for this cold snap!

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  12. I think I got fatter just reading this. I have a secret passion for really good macaroni cheese - can you make me some when I am in your neck o' the woods NEXT JULY? x

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  13. Oh I do love the change of seasons and I am so grateful that Melbourne does, on a small scale, fulfil this need. Of course those winter woolies accommodate a multitude of sins - more room for macaroni I say!

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  14. I love macaroni cheese; it reduces me to childhood! Perfect comfort food (particularly when I am shaking off a cold as I am now). But I have a massive bone to pick with you . . . you keep using Lincolnshire Poacher in your recipes and it sounds delicious but I haven't been able to get any down here in London (wails!!!!) I am dying to taste some :)

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  15. Oh yes Dom, this is so right for this cold cold weather that has suddenly sprung upon us and sounds particularly delicious with your Lincolnshire cheeses. Only don't put your walking boots away, winter is often the best time for it.

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  16. Fog! Just mentioned that in my blog post, weird isn't it? Great cold weather recipe Dom and love your photos too, now pass a plate over here! Love Lincolnshire cheeses.....and sausages! Karen xx

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  17. I agree with using a full fat milk. I think it makes all the difference. Looks fabulous Dom.

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  18. That looks so scrummy Dom! I love a good mac and cheese and this is just fab!

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  19. That is my idea of the perfect meal to eat on a foggy, miserable day. I like to have a great big dollop of sweet, spicy chutney on the side with a dish like this. Or if that's not available, I would settle (dare I admit it???) for a blob of good old fashioned brown sauce!

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  20. I love pasta and this is definitely perfect for the cold wintry months ahead :)

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  21. Global weirding.. I like that.. so much more fitting!! lol
    What can I say? The gratin looks and sounds amazing! True comfort food!

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