Like many of my recipes, this is also inspired by memories of old, when I was in Italy and was at home being treated to lovely meals by mum and grandma. I remember eating something similar to this during school years, perhaps it was trendy but a few mums used to make it with a variety of results, but usually always linked to mid week lunches with family and friends. When I was recently asked to join Lurpak’s #GameOnCooks campaign, I actually thought about it for a little bit. I consume social media in extortionate amount, I am constantly checking my posts, my likes, everyone else’s photos and of course, a lot of this revolves around food. While I can’t deny it’s been inspirational to see others’ work (in the kitchen) and share my own ‘creations’, it does beg the question, could we cook more and spend less time ‘cooking virtually’?
Lurpak is stirring a cooking revolution with a new Game On, Cooks campaign – which aims to tackle the problem head on – by challenging Brits to turn their screens off and ovens on.
So I joined the #GameOnCooks campaign and started planning.. especially wondering what to make using butter. I wanted to steer away from baking, for some reason, yet butter is an ingredient I do not use a huge amount of in other recipes. This pasta bake came to mind as it is made using creamy, delicious besciamella sauce, which should of course, be made with good quality butter.
The original version used tagliolini, a thinner type of tagliatelle which I could not find locally; my mum used to add a little tomato sauce and mushrooms, which @bmcboy can’t eat. Yet he loved my version, strangely (he’s fussy!) so will be repeating soon, perhaps using sausage meat for a more wintry version. This is home cooking at its best: easy, satisfying, delicious.
Our two guests were also impressed, and made for an easy and satisfying Sunday evening supper. Recipe is below. Anyone else who’s joined Lurpak’s #GameOnCooks campaign, please share your posts in the comments, I would love to see them (see what I am doing here?)
- 500gr tagliolini (or tagliatelle), preferably good brand
- 100gr Lurpak salted butter
- 1/2 lt fresh, organic milk
- 100gr white plain flour
- A pinch on nutmeg
- Salt, pepper
- Extra to garnish
- 200gr petit pois
- 50gr Grana Padano, grated
- 100gr scamorza, cubed (or similar smoked cheese)
- Pancetta cubes
- A small white onion, finely sliced
- First, make the besciamella sauce, which is super easy. In a pan, warm the milk up, and in a separate pan, melt the butter and add the sifted flour, mixing it with a wooden fork. Once mixed, start adding the milk little by little incorporating it. You want to reach a creamy but not too thick consistency, slighly more than a double cream. Once finished, add a pinch of nutmeg and taste for salt and pepper (if using salted Lurpak, good to check the salt levels).
- Set aside.
- In a small frying pan add a little oil and brown the onions with the pancetta cubes, then add the peas and let them all cook nicely together, adding a little butter if they dry up (or water, for a lighter version).
- In the meantime, grate the Grana Padano and cube the smoked cheese. At this point you can really add what you like - fresh provola would work great too, as well as some small cubes of pecorino.
- When all ingredients are ready, boil the pasta making sure you remove it from the heat when it's properly ad dente, so at least two, three minutes before its final cooking time. Drain in, reserving some of the cooking water. Mix the pasta in a large bowl with the besciamella, the peas, onions and bacon and finally add the cheeses, making sure it's all nicely mixed. it might start do dry so add a little cooking water and some flakes of Lurpak butter.
- Place the pasta in an oven proof dish, making sure the top is fairly flat; garnish with a couple of flakes of Lurpak, a sprinkle of grated Grana and the bread crumbs.
- Place in the oven (pre-heated at 180c fan) for around 20 minutes until piping hot. You can make the pasta ahead, and keep in the fridge until dinner time, when you'll just finish cooking it in the oven.
- Nex time, I will replace the pancetta with a couple of chipolatas sausage meat, for a more wintry version.