Saturday, 2 February 2013

Easy penne dish (variation of a Finnish macaroni dish)

Cooking at night
I had an early morning cooking session today, while I had the kitchen to myself.. I made something based on a Finnish fridge magnet recipe (sorry, no photo - I can't be arsed to go downstairs and snap it), but I used penne instead of macaroni, simply because I haven't seen macaroni in any nearby shops, and I added some other stuff.. I also made about twice as much as the original recipe said, so some of this is vague;

loads of penne (or similar pasta)
olive oil
one big onion
two big mushrooms
two tomatoes
vegetable stock cube
~200g of cheese (I used Emmental)
1 litre of full milk
4 eggs
~tsp. salt
~tbsp. sugar
~0,5 tsp. ground white pepper (or more)

Bake in the oven for about an hour, gas mark 6 (or 5 - I started with 6, then turned it down to 5, after 30 minutes). But first, when the oven is heating up, you'll have enough time to boil the penne and chop & fry the other bits. So, it takes maybe 1h 30m to cook this, and you'll only have to do stuff during the first 30 minutes of it =)

Cooking at night Cooking at night
I boiled maybe half a bag of penne (~250g), which takes a large pot. I like to put a drop of olive oil in the water, but I don't add salt, at this point. Anyway, just use the boiling instructions on the bag of whatever pasta you're using. (It's OK to undercook it slightly as you'll be baking it in the oven, but definitely don't overcook it, or it just won't be nice at all..) When done, drain it, and return it to the pot (put a lid on it), until you're ready with the fried stuff, and the milk & eggs mixture (more about that, later).

Cooking at night Cooking at night
I've listed two tomatoes, above, but as you can see, I'd already used some of one tomato for a sambo =D It doesn't really matter, you can use what you like, and how much you like.. I just wanted something nice and cheapo.

I chopped all these, leaving the bits quite large as I wanted some texture.. Then I fried them in olive oil - onion first, then add mushrooms, and then tomatoes. I added the vegetable stock cube after onion. It's so handy for seasoning.

The second picture (top right) shows how I left it - had I eaten this stuff right away, I would have fried it a bit more, but it was going to the oven dish, so this was enough for me.

Cooking at night
I'd used some of this (originally) 250g lump of Emmental already, so there was maybe about 200g left, and I grated it all for this dish. (Well, I did eat the last tiny lump as I didn't want to grate my fingers..)

For the milk & eggs mixture, I started by slightly whisking the four eggs, then adding the one litre of milk, and the salt, sugar, and white pepper. Then I mixed it all together.

Now, take a large oven dish, and start layering stuff.. First some penne (maybe almost half of what you've boiled), then some grated cheese, then some fried stuff, and gently pour some milk & egg mix all over it.. And the same again, until your dish is full. Leave some grated cheese to sprinkle on top of it all. As it happens, I'd done just the right amount of everything, to fill my oven dish, and there was nothing left over.

Cooking at night Cooking at night
And finally, some before & after baking pictures..

Cooking at night Cooking at night
Next time, I might use more white pepper, but other than that, melikes..

If you're not eating it all right away (like myself, since I'm just one person..), let it cool down and then put it in the fridge. It should be fine for 2-3 days. I actually find it even nicer reheated - or even fridge cold! (You can probably even freeze it, but I've never tried that as the thought of frozen pasta is not that hot, I think..)

Kids might like this with ketchup. (Big kids, too! If I'd done just the basic pasta & cheese version, I'd have ketchup with it as well!)

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