Friday, May 26, 2023

Words & Brush Weekender: Easy listening music and chat, Friday 26th May 2023, Free Choice - all genres of music welcome

 Easy listening music and chat, Friday 26th May 2023, Free Choice - all genres of music welcome!

Enjoy some good music here on Words & Brush, it's your free choice so please post any of your favorite music of all genres! 

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Words & Brush Recipe Corner: Ridiculously Simple Spinach Pasta Bake

 Ridiculously Simple Spinach Pasta Bake

By Lisa Starr, Meatland

My love for simplifying complex tasks extends to the kitchen too - as is evident in the many no-knead breads and one-bowl recipes shared here - and this Easy Spinach Pasta Bake is a prime example.It offers all the wonderful flavors of a Spinach Lasagna, but neatly side-steps the annoying part of making a separate, white sauce, and also cuts out the tedious layering.


2 x 250g cottage cheese1 tablespoon lemon zest1 teaspoon oreganoPinch chili flakes200g crumbled feta or Bulgarian white cheese2 cups grated mozzarella or yellow cheeseCoarse black pepper to taste500g frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed out500g small shape pasta (elbow/spiral etc)4 cups marinara sauce*Sour cream (optional as explained in notes)Extra cheese for garnish on topOlive oil to drizzle overBasil leaves/parsley to garnish * Can use store-bought. I shortcut my own sauce by simmering 800g crushed, canned tomatoes with 2 halves of a large onion, 3 tablespoons of olive oil, 2 tablespoons sugar, 2 teaspoons crushed garlic, 2 teaspoons oregano, a pinch of chili flakes, and a generous seasoning of salt and coarse black pepper. Simmer for 25 minutes, add hot water to thin down to desired consistency, remove onion halves, check seasoning and you're ready to go!
Directions:1: Combine cottage cheese, feta and mozzarella/yellow cheese with lemon zest, chili flakes, coarse black pepper and squeezed spinach.2: Boil pasta till just al dente, scoop out 1 cup of the pasta water, and then drain but don't rinse.3: Spread approximately 1/2 cup marinara sauce on the base of your medium-sized baking dish and toss the drained pasta in remaining sauce. You could add sour cream if desired as per notes below.4: Add approximately 1/2 to 3/4 cup of the reserved pasta water to the cheese mixture then scoop a layer of tomato-draped pasta into your dish, followed by a layer of the cheese mixture. Repeat ending with a layer of the tomato pasta on top.5: Cover with extra cheese - even Parmesan if you want to splurge - and drizzle with olive oil then bake at 200 C for approximately 25 minutes till cheese is golden and pasta dish is baked through.COOK'S NOTES: I often add a tub of sour cream to the marinara in this dish to make a rose sauce, but this is optional. It's delicious though. You can use fresh spinach, but you'd need to wilt this in a pan with olive oil before use. Be generous with fresh spinach as it wilts down to nothing. Recipe can replace spinach with fresh mushrooms - never canned - fried in garlic or you can combine spinach and mushrooms. 


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