There. I've said it. Can we move on now? We can?!? Good.
In case you haven't guessed it already, there's spinach in this recipe. You don't have to use spinach, but something green and suitably easy to cook with - will do in it's place. I'll leave that up to you because I have no clue what you've got in your fridge. In my fridge... there was spinach.
I wish I could be the type of person that could lay out and shop to a menu for the week/month and cook according to what I'd written down. But I'm not, and I can't.... which is why I'm always using up the remains of a bag of spinach and half a pot of crème fraîche. If I even attempt to stick to a plan I feel like an utter failure on day one, when instead of eating a beautifully roasted chicken (because it says Day 1: Roast Chicken, of course)... we're eating pizza and garlic bread out of the freezer....
It's like there's a mini rebellion going on in my head, that I have no clue about until I'm half way through eating a meal that I didn't actually cook... and Neil says "Thought we were having roast chicken today?". I actually get pissed off with him. Not with me. With him. How dare he point out that yet again the rebellious part of my personality has won the day, because she has a bigger stick than the rest of them?
So... to avoid the feeling of yet again not quite getting it right, I hardly ever plan a meal but instead raid the fridge about 2 hours before we're going to get hungry, and cook a meal based on what needs using up the quickest...
... which is usually spinach.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *Creamy Leek and Bacon Pasta Bake Recipe
Prep time - 5 minutes
Cooking time - 25 minutes
Total time - 30 minutes
You will need
A small to medium baking dish
1 tbsp olive oil
4 rashers back bacon - chopped
1 leek - chopped
6 sun dried tomatoes (in oil) - chopped
1 clove garlic - crushed
5fl oz/150ml crème fraîche
1 tbsp multi grain mustard
2oz/60g cheddar - grated
1 handful/50g young spinach - chopped (I KNOW... spinach again. DEAL WITH IT!)
4/oz/110g dried penne pasta
2oz/60g cheddar - grated (for the topping)
- Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions and get on with the rest while it's cooking.
- Preheat oven to180c/160cfan/350f/gas4.
- Heat the oil in a medium saucepan and cook the bacon until starting to crisp - about 3 minutes.
- Add the leeks, and cook until beginning to soften - about 2 minutes.
- Stir in the garlic and sun dried tomatoes, then the crème fraîche and the multi grain mustard. Heat gently.
- Add a ladleful of water from the pasta pot and stir to loosen the sauce. It may seem to runny at this stage, but it's going in the oven so will thicken up and reduce.
- Remove from heat and stir in the grated cheddar and spinach.
- Drain the pasta and add to the sauce, mixing it in gently.
- Pour the whole lot into your baking dish, scatter with remaining cheddar and cook in the oven for 10 minutes, or until the cheese and gold and bubbling on top.
- Serve immediately with mozzarella and basil foccaccia.