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Baked ziti with greens and Gorgozonla

Updated: Apr 30, 2023

Baked pasta to me is comfort food. It starts with the aromatic scent of the pasta as it browns in the oven, and to see a lovely slice of steaming hot gooey pasta on your plate. This pasta is no exception.

The dish comes together beautifully. The green adds a lovely, earthy, and slightly bitter flavour and the blue cheese adds a piquant saltiness to the pasta and Béchamel sauce. This is a delicious pasta, perfect for those days you are looking for a good comfort dish. The blue cheese is unusual but goes so well in the dish. If Italian Gorgonzola is available use it please, otherwise any mild blue cheese will also work well.

Jack Bishop has been cooking since the age of 12 and over the years became one of America's most creative vegetable chefs. He studied culinary arts in Florence and specializes in Italian cuisine, but also is known for his global flavours and creative dishes. He has published several cookbooks, and also extensively in magazines and has been featured on a PBS show.

For more recipes from this lovely cookbook, click here.




Ingredients:

2 tablespoons butter

1 medium onion, finely diced

1 lb greens, arugula, or a mix of arugula and spinach

Salt, to taste

1/2 teaspoon pepper


For the Béchamel sauce:

3 tablespoons butter

4 tablespoons all-purpose flour

3 cups milk

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Salt, to taste

1/2 teaspoon pepper


4 oz. Gorgonzola cheese or other mild blue cheese

Grated Parmesan cheese


1 cup ziti or other small tubular pasta


Cook the pasta as per the instructions on the package minus 1 minute for "al dante". Drain and toss the pasta in 1 teaspoon of olive oil to prevent it from sticking.


Stem and properly wash the greens. Heat the butter in a wide frying pan and add the onions. Sauté on low heat till the onions are soft and translucent, do not colour. Add the greens, salt and pepper and cook the greens till they are completely wilted and the liquids have evaporated. Cool, remove from the pan and chop till very fine.


To make the bechamel, heat the butter on low and add the flour. Sauté on low heat for 3-4 minutes till the flour smells toasty. Add the milk whisking vigorously. Add the salt, pepper and nutmeg and mix in well. Cook on low heat till you have a roux that has the consistency of thin cream, about 4-5 minutes.


Add the cheese in small chunks and turn off the heat. Stir well till the cheese has completely melted into the sauce ad there are no lumps left. Add the cooked greens and pasta and toss the sauce well to mix all the ingredients. Taste for salt and adjust if needed.


Butter a small 9X9 inch Pyrex dish. Layer the pasta and sauce into the dish and tap down to even out. Top with a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese. The dish can be prepared to this sage and stored in the fridge.


Preheat the oven to 375° F.


Abake the dish for 40-45 minutes till it is well browned on top and bubbling in the centre. Remove and allow to sit for 1 minute and serve.




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