Friday, June 15, 2012

Easy silver beet baked pasta

Eating in: easy!

Brrrrr it is so cold now! I am baking almost every day, so most of my dishes seem to end up in the oven. This spent most of its life on the stove though: first I washed two big bunches of silver beet and cook them. I boiled the white stalks first, and then the green leaves. To do this I put the stalks in a big pot with a little water, and a pinch of salt, then after 5 min of boiling I added the leaves but no more water: the steam is enough to cook the leaves. 

Then I made a thick besciamelle: I melted 100 g salted butter, took the pan off the stove and quickly mixed in 100 g flour, then back on the stove and slowly added 1 l milk. Stirred well until thick and then added salt to taste, white pepper and freshly grated nutmeg.

In the meantime I cooked 500 g of pasta, I drained it and dressed it with a couple of tbsp of besciamelle, then placed it in a lasagna dish. I placed the silver beet stalks on top first, and then green leaves as a third layer. I covered everything with the remaining besciamelle. A super generous dusting of grated parmesan cheese on top, and straight into the oven until the crust was golden. This baked pasta cuts like a dream and it is super easy!

Eating out: am I unlucky?

I never do restaurant reviews on this blog, unless I am traveling and I like to show the food ... but I wouldn't call it a review. And if I don't really like a place I don't talk about it, full stop. But I was dying to write this :-). Last Saturday I went to the opera to see Rigoletto with a group of friends, so we meet before for a drink here. Fancy that, we were sitting at the same long table as Peter Gordon! (No I didn't take a photo or tried to chat with him, he was talking with some friends and I don't think that it is polite to barge in!). The bar was nice and buzzing, the staff was lovely, and there were a few tapas available that everybody said were very good. Unfortunately I was the unlucky one, I ordered crema catalana and it wasn't... right. But I will go back again happily... and maybe just stay away from the desserts :-).

A final note to show a bit of Autumn colours in West Auckland: Arantxa has joined the photography club at her school, and as a good Mum I think that she is super-talented!
Happy weekend!

Photos by Arantxa Zecchini Dowling ©

Photos and Recipes by Alessandra Zecchini and Arantxa Zecchini Dowling ©


  1. Ohhh, that baked pasta looks deliciously good! And congrats to your daughter. Have a great weekend!

  2. La pasta...e chi saprebbe vivere senza:-)baci,imma

    1. Proprio l'ltra sera degli amici mi chiedevano se non mi stanca cucinare sempre (nota che qui comprano tantissimo cibo da asporto, molte famiglie almeno due volte alla settimana, mentre io non lo compro mai!), ma penso che per molti italiani sia più' facile: ci vuole meno tempo a fare due spaghetti che andare a prendere un take-away. Sicuramente non potrei vivere senza pasta!

    2. Sono d'accordo con voi, la pasta è irrinunciabile e poi come dici tu Ale ci vuole meno a farla che andare a comprare altre schifezze in giro. Buonissima questa versione!!

    3. I take away qui soon grassissimi, diventi obese solo ad annusarli!

  3. Alessandra, this is a fantastic meal! Are silver beet stalks called Swiss chard also? Lovely pasta, I am definitely making this recipe soon. :)

  4. Yes, they are also called Swiss chard. Let me know if you make it!



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