I wanted to share a really simple recipe inspired from a pasta dish I had in Grottammare Alta.
Simply courgette, mushroom and béchamel with penne giganti.
The beauty of this dish is you can use any ingredients you want!
100 grams Butter
100 grams Plain Flour
1 litre Whole Milk
1 White Onion (peeled and cut in half)
1 Bay Leaf
Handful of grated Parmesan
Pinch of finely grated Nutmeg
And the rest
500g Penne Gigante
3 Garlic Cloves (chopped finely)
400g Mushrooms (I like to used a mixture of chestnut, white and wild mushrooms)
Handful of dried porcini mushrooms
A glass of White Wine (for the sauce!)
Sale e Pepe!
1 Mozzarella Ball
Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
1 Let’s start with your béchamel sauce. Pour your milk into a saucepan. Add your onion and bay leaf. Gently bring to the boil. Turn off the heat and leave to infuse for around 20 minutes.
2 Melt the butter in another saucepan, then add the flour. Stir continuously until a paste forms (roux). Continue cooking for 2 mins.
3 Remove the onion and bay leaf from the milk with a slotted spoon and discard. Add the infused milk to the roux gradually, stirring as you go, until you get a smooth sauce. Cook for 5-10 mins, stirring continuously, until the sauce has thickened. Season to taste. Add the Parmesan and nutmeg, stir until fully incorporated.
4 Cook the pasta, according to the manufacturers instructions.
When you strain the pasta, preserve some of the water. It’s great for loosening a sauce if too thick but it helps the sauce stick to the pasta.
5 Meanwhile roughly chop the mushrooms and dice the courgettes.
6 Tip the mushrooms, courgette and garlic into a large non-stick saucepan and add 2-3 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil and water. Cook gently, stirring often, until the vegetables are soft.
7 Meanwhile put the porcini mushrooms in a small bowl and just cover the mushrooms with boiling water. Leave to soak until the porcini has softened.
8 Pour the white wine into the saucepan with the courgettes and mushrooms. Turn up the heat and bring to the boil. Turn to a simmer, add the porcini mushrooms and the infused porcini water. Cook for a further five minutes.
9 Now mix your three elements together. Pour the pasta into your béchamel sauce and add the courgette/mushroom mixture.
10 Transfer the pasta into an oven proof serving dish. Roughly tear the mozzarella ball over the top of your pasta and pop in the oven for around 10-15 minutes until the top of the pasta bake is golden.
11 Perfecto it’s now ready to serve, this would easily serve up to eight people. Serve with some fresh bread and a crisp salad.