It’s been a month since I last posted and the hubby has been constantly reminding me about it. The last week, whenever I made anything interesting, he nudged me to take pictures encouraging me to resume blogging saying ‘Come on, don’t abandon your blog!’. I have been quick to respond saying ‘I’m not abandoning, just on a break’ – break being the key word here. Truly speaking, I’m not comfortable with such a long break either, which can quite tend to abandonment. My slow come back is completely thanks to hubby’s push and the readers who have kept me going since Saffron Trail took off
It was after a long time, I managed to cook something new and elaborate – last night. Cauliflowers are totally in season in India now, which you might have noticed on Mad Tea Party too. While browsing through Food Network, they had highlighted some of Ina Garten’s recipes, among which was a Cauliflower Gratin – a side dish baked with cauliflower and plenty of cheese. I wanted to bake something similar but heartier and not as a side dish but as a one pot casserole. So it had to involve some carbs in the form of pasta, some more veggies like peas and spinach to make it heartier and spices like garlic and chillies to satisfy our palates. That’s how yesterday’s dinner was conceived
Time taken – Under 1 hour
Makes 3 generous portions or 4 regular portions
- 1 cup pasta macaroni dry like penne, or short spirals, cooked as per directions kept aside
- 2 cups cauliflower large florets
- 1 cup green peas fresh or frozen
- 4 cups spinach finely shredded
- 5 cloves garlic peeled and finely chopped
- 2 green chillies red or finely chopped
- 1 tsp oregano dried
- 1 tsp basil dried
- 1 tbsp olive oil vegetable or
- 1 sauce recipe white (recipe given below)
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 3 - 4 tbsps flour
- 2 cups milk
- Recipe forCauliflower-Spinach-Pasta Casserole:
- Preparing the cauliflower and peas:In a small saucepan, take xbe cup of water. Salt it. Put it in the well washed cauliflower florets and cover with a tight lid. Let the water boil for 5 minutes. At this point add the frozen peas and cover, let boil for 1-2 more minutes. Keep the cooked florets and peas aside.
- Bring it all together:In a large wok, heat 1 tbsp of vegetable / olive oil. On a medium flame, lightly saute the chopped garlic and chillies for a minute. Put in the shredded spinach, with a pinch of salt and pepper. Saute till wilted. Add the steamed florets and peas, the cooked pasta. Give it a good stir. At this stage add the white sauce and stir lightly to coat all the contents of the wok.Add the dried herbs and any salt /pepper if needed at this stage.
- Baking it off:It is ready to be dug into at this stage, but you can take it up a level by proceeding to sprinkle some bread crumbs and cheese over the top and baking it off in a hot oven for 15 minutes till the top is golden brown.
- Recipe for white sauce, recipe adapted from here.
- In a glass measuring jug, heat the butter for 30 seconds till melted. Stir in the olive oil. Add the flour one tbsp at a time, mixing vigourously with a fork or whisk. Incorporate all the flour into the fat until it is a smooth lump-free paste. Next, add a few tablespoons of milk, beat till well incorporated into mixture. Gradually add upto 1 cup milk, whisking continuously so that it is a smooth mixture. Microwave on HIGH for 3 minutes, till the fat separates out the mixture has thickened well. At this point, whisk vigourously to smoothen it out. Add remaining one cup milk gradually and then microwave on HIGH again for a minute till thick and smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Keep covered.
Casseroles are such a help. I always make a second lunch sized batch of casseroles. Very useful when you want to grab a quick bite and get out during the weekends. The crust should have been a real treat.
Nandita, exactly one month break!!!! saw your post on 11th nov and today!! Love your recipe and hope you continue posting your amazing recipes or we might ask your dear hubby to push you even more to get you started.I really miss your posts!!
welcome back nandita…the dish looks tempting…in this season we get to see cauliflower every nook and corner
Good to see you here, Nandita.Ah you too have been bitten by the cauliflower bug – but you have done something very different from the rest of us! It is really cold here in Delhi at the moment, and one-pot dishes re what I ought to be cooking.
Yayyyyy, your back !! The casserole looks really yummy Nandita, I think the crust would be my fav portion 🙂
looks gr8!! very healthy treat too….
Yum yum yum!! I love casseroles of any kind, and one that has pasta and cauliflower in it, no way am I passing that up! Looks delicious…am gonna try it..:)
Hi Nanditha, How are you doing? I happened to see this recipe yesterday on Food network. Your’s looks even better tho..will try to catch up with U on chat
Nice to have you back. Casseroles are always awesome and I love the combination with spinach!
That’s a pretty looking dish nandita..I’m lingering on some of the gratin recipes too..have to try them out soon! hope to see you resuming your blogging!
Suganya – I have saved one of three large portions for lunch 🙂 Seeing how much i relished it hubby left it for me – instead of grabbing it for his lunch box the next morning :)Padmaja – He is pushing me and I think I am back on track nowSrivalli / Priya / Namratha /Swaroopa- Glad that you liked it, this is the best time to try it out :)Anita- Yeah cauliflowers do seem lovely at this time of the year, but its still expensive in Bombay as are all other veggies – I read about DIlli’s cold wave, no such luck here, its cool early mornings, then we are back to humid weather for rest of the day.Shankari – do lets catch up on chat, rarely see you around!Meeta – yup, its my first time making a casserole, i quite like the idea of all in one dishMansi- thanks for dropping by, i hope i have resumed in earnest 🙂 too!
Lovely to see you back – particularly with such a glorious looking recipe.Kathryn
looks yummy… I’ve got to try. Your package should reach you shortly… I hope you have fun 🙂 I’ve been unwell and hence the delay.
Hi Nandita,So happy that you have resumed postings. We have missed you. I can stop giving those longing looks at the vegetable manchurian! For purely selfish reading pleasure, ofcourse!
Yay, you’re back – and with such a yummy recipe, too! How sweet that your husband is so encouraging, that can sometimes be the best motivation of all. Eagerly waiting for more (I’m greedy, you see!)Kamini
Hey looks yummy…surely goin to try it:)plz don take such long breks,hungry animals waiting for ur recipies :)lolSangeetha ~
i am glad that you did not get motivated by her use of butter and cream tho ;)..looks delicious…
I love your husband for nudging you 🙂 It is so good to have you back and with a really fantastic recipe too!
Welcome back, you have been missed…this is a recipe after my own heart, baked but not stuffed with cheese, pasta but not bland, one dish meal.Thanks, Im trying it out today itself!
Nice idea and recipe. Good to see you back at blogging.
Great dish, thanks!Two unrelated comments though:1. Could you turn the “auto play” off the Nautanki.tv widget at the bottom of each page. It is _extremely_ annoying to have some random sounds start playing without my initiation. The first time around I had a hard time flipping through my dozen or so tabs trying to figure out exactly where the sound was coming from.2. Could you enable full text in your RSS feeds? It defeats the whole purpose of the feed if I have to jump out of my feed reader every time I want to read a post in its entirety.Thanks!
Made the dish last night itself for dinner and it was fab! Thanks!BTW, in our home, there was no question of leftover – potions sufficient for two 😉
I agree with Diwaker about the audio on the page….I didnt know it could be turned off , but if it could that would be great!
Thanks for the hearty encouragement all my dear ladies – and Diwaker /Miri – your wish is my command, have removed the TV from my blog – since I did not have control on auto start.Diwaker, the thing about providing a full feed Vs a short one has been a long standing debate – for reasons that I know more about site visits and readers, I have not provided complete feeds. If you have any further recommendations, please email me and I shall be glad to discuss.Miri- I am so taken with your enthusiasm, you’ve already tried this out and given me thumbs up, i am indeed happy!
That casserole sure looks lipsmacking! I’ve made a similar one but without the green peas and breadcrumbs. I used some tomato ketchup as per taste incorporated into the white sauce. Also used plenty of cheese. Turned out good.But I think the breadcrumbs are a good idea for variation in textures. Must try your recipe pronto!
Casseroles rock, especially with cauliflower! That crust sounds awesome.
I made this casserole vegan and it was yummy! I used soy milk instead of cow’s milk, and Earth Balance in place of the butter. I added 1/2 tsp. salt and a pinch of pepper to the white sauce.Instead of the suggested cheese topping, I mixed a tablespoon of yeast into the casserole with the white sauce before baking.Thanks for a delicious casserole!
Hi Nandita,I am a regular reader of your blog and really love reading your recipes being a tamilian myself and accidentally spotted your blog a few months ago. Thanks to you, I have actually started reading about blogging since I am a food freak too and planning on starting my own blog as a hobby.I had a question on this casserole dish. What kind of flour did you use? Can all-purpose flour be used?Thanks once again for writing and sharing the recipes !!Cheers,Nirmala IyerSanta Clara
Wow , thanks for the recipe. I tried it and it came out super good. Only changes were that I used readymade white sauce for this
Nandita,Tried this tonight and am thrilled! It was dee-licious. Am novice cook, and have NEVER been able to get a white sauce right – this one was perfect. I left out the chillies and added a dash of dried rosemary into the sauce. Yum yum yum. Many thanks – tomorrow it’s your paneer matar recipe 🙂 Anjali
I just made it and came back to my laptop to let you know that.I’m stepping out for a night with my girl friends and made it for my husband and the boys to enjoy while I’m having fun myself :-)The white sauce recipe was awesome! Thanks for the amazing recipe.-Neelima
I made this casserole, was very simple , my kids liked it .Thanks for sharing