Sunday, 3 August 2008
Garden Mac & Cheese
I tend to think that the splatter index is the most useful measure of a cookbook. You can tell at a glance which books get properly used by the greasy fingermarks, oil splashes and fruit stains on the most opened pages. For me, hands down the most successful cookbook in the collection is the Australian Women's Weekly Italian Cooking Class. One oil-spattered page has both spinach with spirali and puttanesca - 2 dishes that arguably did more to nourish my teenage self than any others.
Making Heather's Garden Mac I was hit with a wave of nostalgia - the mid point of the dish when I had the pasta, spinach, leek and gammon in the pyrex dish reminded me so much of the spinach with spirali. Fancier pasta of course, but the same soothing pink, cream and green colours and the same indescribable smell of spinach and hot pasta. It was almost a shame to add the roasted tomato bechamel.
Glad I did though. She's onto something with that roasted tomato bechamel. I added half a dozen fat cloves of garlic to my roasting pan, so when I was squidging the tomatoes and deglazed juices into the bechamel they disappeared and were just evident as fleeting bursts of flavour. Can't wait to see what it'll do to a lasagne.