Monday, 2 June 2014

Make Me! Bake Me!

Pasta Estiva Gratinata, con Rucola, Pomodori Secchi, Feta & Piselli
Summer Pasta Bake with Arugula, Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Feta & Peas


Of course salads are nice in the Summertime and I enjoy them as much as the next guy (or gal), but the thing is, when you live on your own... it always seems to be too, too much once you bring that bag of greens home! That's the way it was with the arugula I bought on Saturday, this evening... I had already made a big salad with it last night and I didn't really want to have exactly the same thing all over again today...

...and so I didn't!


So, I had the fresh arugula and also plenty of fresh peas that I had picked up on Saturday, amongst other things of course... but I was suddenly inspired to combine the nutty, peppery flavor of the greens with the sweet peas- the question was simply how to do it?

At first, the thought was to make a pasta salad, using Risoni noodles, which taste so wonderfully slinky and chewy and delicious- but then I decided that a nice bread crumb crunch would be nice too... and quick as you like, this yummy idea was born!

My supper this evening consisted of 2 handfuls of risoni noodles- you can use an other pasta you may prefer I suppose... and a couple of handfuls each of arugula and fresh garden peas. to these main ingredients I added about a third of a block of Feta cheese, a shallot, a couple of sun-dried tomatoes and 1-2 tablespoons of bread crumbs... gloriously simple as always! Just the way I like it!

Because- if such simple ingredients can be SO tasty... why on earth would you want to go and complicate things?

All you need to do to make this dish is to boil up that pasta- usually from 8-12 minutes depending on the instructions on the package, and in the meantime to shell those peas, chop up that shallot into a fine dice and slice up the sun dried tomato into thin strips.


Fry the shallot in a little olive oil together with the peas and sun-dried tomatoes until the shallot becomes transparent and season with a little pepper... the sun-dried tomatoes and the Feta cheese will have plenty of salt in them for the whole dish!

Next, stir-in the cooked pasta, add a little olive oil and grated nutmeg, a little squeeze of lemon juice and you are good to go! Turn on your oven to the highest setting and get ready for the fun part!


Before we pour the pasta into the baking dish, we need to add the arugula- chopped a little smaller to make it easier and more pleasant to eat. Add the arugula and stir it gently into the mix- it will soon wilt and shrink down- and as soon as it does we can get ready to add the cheese!


Crumble-up the feta cheese, stir it in only briefly and very gently and spoon the mixture into your baking dish.


As simple as it is, there is a great combination of flavors going on right here in this little dish... ain't that great?


Sprinkle generously with bread crumbs, drizzle with a little olive oil and pop into a hot oven- around 180° C, for between 10- 15 minutes until the crumbs and the cheese become a lovely golden brown...


... something a little like this!


Sometimes it needs to be something more hearty right in the middle of the Summer- and this little masterpiece is so light to eat that it is a perfect "best of both worlds" kind of dish- and I like that! :-)

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