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LOW FAT – SPINACH & PASTA BAKE

June 5, 2011

Let’s be frank: this is a low fat pasta bake so it isn’t going to have the full flavour of a dish that contains full fat products.  However if you put in plenty of nutmeg, I find it quite satisfactory. Whatever you do don’t add any salt to this.  The paremesan makes it salty enough.   I also call it 333 because everything comes in threes!

3 cups spiral pasta

3 cups skim milk

3 tbspns parmesan cheese

3 tbspns low fat spread

3 tbspns plain flour

3 cups baby spinach reasonably tightly packed (chopped)

grated nutmeg to taste

pepper to taste

2 tbspsns parmesan (extra)

METHOD

1.  Melt the low fat spread in a frypan

2.  Sprinkle in the flour and mix until it forms a paste.  Add the milk and stir until it becomes thick and bubbly (about 3 minutes).

3.  Add parmesan and stir through. 

4.  Here comes the weird bit.  Turn the heat down and add the chopped spinach to the sauce and stir through.  Sprinkle or grate the nutmeg over.  Taste here to see if you have enough nutmeg.  Add pepper to taste.

5.  Place the pasta in a large pot of boiling water and boil until there is a little resistance when you bite but not much.

6.  Drain the pasta and place in a lightly oiled casserole dish.  Pour over the sauce and stir through.

7.  Sprinkle with extra parmesan and bake in a pre-heated 200 C oven for 10 minutes.  Then turn up the heat  to 230 for 5 minutes to make a brown crispy crust.

Serves 4

Variations:  You could cut up a rasher of bacon into lardons and cook in the vegetable spread before adding flour and milk to the sauce.

If you want to use ordinary cheese you can use 1 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese in the sauce and grate over 1/2 a cup of cheese before baking. 

If you don’t have spinach any green vegetable will do.

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