BAKED PASTA/ ROTINI

Baked Pasta / Rotini

“Every food has its own holiday,today we are celebrating the National Noodle Day” said the news reporter on the ABC news this morning to help the Chicago marathon runners stay light & fit.The morning air was cold & crispy,seemed like I had the menu of the day planned via air signals, so here I was all set to try a new recipe , by baking Pasta/Rotini and joining in the merriment of it all.
Rotini is a type of helix- or corkscrew-shaped pasta, supposedly having its origins in Northern Italy,the tight twists help them hold the sauce better, here in the U.S it’s called “Scroodles”.
This baked Pasta dish’s secret lies in the modified béchamel sauce, used in the recipe, its pink instead of the traditional white sauce which the French make.Its makes a healthy and yummy lunch or dinner, so enjoy it with your loved ones.

Baked Pasta / Rotini
Baked Pasta / Rotini

Ingredients:

Pasta/Rotini- 450 grams
Minced meat-450grams
Olive Oil- 3tbsp
Onions- 1 ( thinly sliced)
Pwd Cinnamon-1/4 tsp
Pwd Cardamom- 1/4 tsp
Pwd Cumin seeds( Jeera) -1/4 tsp
Pwd Pepper- 1/2 tsp

For the béchamel sauce:
Butter- 2tbsp
Olive oil- 2 tbsp
Flour- 4 tbsp
Milk – 4 cups
Pwd Pepper- a pinch
Salt – to taste
Eggs- 2 ( can substitute with Flaxseed pwd mix)
Cheese- 3 tbsp
Tomato paste- 3 tbsp
Bread crumbs-3 tbsp( I substituted with ground rice crackers, since I ran out of bread crumbs)

Method:
For Pasta:
1.Heat 6-8 cups of water, when it starts to boil add the pasta in & allow it to cook for 8-10 minutes( it should not be very soft, remove just before that)
2.Rinse in cold water & set aside.

For the meat/chicken:
Heat a little oil , when warm add the sliced onions & sauté them till light brown, now add the minced meat/chicken to this along with the powdered spices & salt to taste, allow it cook a few minutes until all the water evaporates from the chicken.Set aside to cool.

For the béchamel sauce:
1.Warm the butter/oil in a thick bottomed vessel.
2.To this add the flour & keep stirring until the color begins to change a little, now add the milk gently & keep whisking the milk, lest the flour forms lumps.
3.When the milk is well mixed lower the heat, but continue stirring until the sauce thickens.
4.Now add the cheese & stir for 2-3 minutes, before switching off the heat & setting aside to cool.
5.Now gently add the cooled béchamel sauce to the beaten eggs & stir well
6.To this add the powdered bread crumbs/rice crackers along with the tomato paste & mix well.

Assembling the pasta:
1.In a baking dish spread the béchamel sauce at the bottom, topped with half the pasta, minced meat, the rest of the pasta & béchamel sauce in that order.
2.Bake it in the preheated oven for 45minutes to an hour at 350 degrees.
3.When baked, gently transfer the tray to the broiler until the top is well browned.
4.Serve hot & enjoy your meal on a cold rainy day.

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