This week we've had a couple of house guests: a pair of Australian girls wrapping up a three-month European tour. The brief I had been given on their tastes in food was omnivorous and not fussy but fairly conservative. I also happened to know that one of these young ladies absolutely loves my mother's cheese fondue.
Unfortunately I don't have a fondue pot big enough for four. And Paul's ETA was an unknown, so I needed to make something that could sit around and wait. So I made a simple pasta bake using fondue as the sauce. It was delicious - and a bit fancier than a macaroni cheese.
Fondue Pasta Bake (serves 3-4)
300ml dry white wine
2 cloves of garlic, cut into slivers
125g grated gruyere
125g grated emmenthal
500g filled pasta (I used spinach and ricotta ravioli)
Handful grated parmesan
Freshly grated nutmeg
In a medium-sized pan, bring the wine and garlic to the boil. Turn off the heat and allow to infuse for 10 minutes. Return to the heat and when the wine comes just back to a simmer, add the grated cheese and stir until melted. Pour half the cheese mixture into a baking dish (I used a pyrex lasagne dish).
Cook the pasta for a minute less than the packet instructions. Drain, but not too thoroughly (a bit of extra cooking water clinging to it helps it all along) and spread on the base of cheese mixture. Pour the rest of the cheese evenly over the pasta. Sprinkle the parmesan over the top and grate on a little nutmeg.
Bake in a preheated 180C oven for 25-30 minutes until browned on top and bubbling at the edges.
I served it with a simple green salad, because I had a suspicion that the girls haven't been eating much veg in their travels. Which turned out to be accurate.