There is really nothing more satisfying to me as opening up my pantry, fridge, and freezer and creating a meal with what’s on hand. This dish is exactly that. Thursday’s are a very hectic day of my week and generally dinner is something I need to make way in advance and that usually means right after the breakfast dishes are done and the kids are off to school. With lots of stocks, sauces, marinaras, and a quart or two of bolognese on hand, I can always whip something up in 30 minutes or less.
This is kind of like a modern day mac ‘n cheese, but on steroids. Like mac ‘n cheese, I can make and assemble this meal early in the morning. It sits covered and assembled, at room temperature, and then baked off right before dinner. While the pasta is baking, I make my homemade Caesar dressing and a small batch of gluten free croutons. A one pot dish makes clean up super easy and it helps keep the stress level to a minimum. What makes me the happiest is that this is an unprocessed, whole meal and feeds my family of 5 for about fifteen bucks!
Baked Spaghetti Bolognese with Bechamel Sauce
1/2 pound gluten free spaghetti (I like Tinkyada)
1/2 pound homemade bolognese
2 cups whole, organic milk
2 tablespoons organic butter, unsalted
2 tablespoons gluten free flour (or regular AP flour)
1/2 teaspoon Celtic sea salt(plus extra for the pasta water)
1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
4 tablespoons fresh grated parmesan cheese
• preheat oven to 350*. coat a 7″ x 10″ baking dish with olive oil. place baking dish on a rimmed baking sheet and set aside.
• in a large stock pot, boil water. when boiling, add a very large pinch of salt. add spaghetti. set timer for 7 minutes and once the water comes to a boil, turn flame down to simmer. stir a few times to avoid the noodles sticking together. when done, drain and then toss with 2/3 of the bolognese sauce.
to make the bechamel:
• in a small heavy duty pot, warm milk over low heat.
• in a heavy duty sauce pan, melt butter. once melted added the flour and whisk for one minute. little bubbles will form, once they do, slowly add the milk. whisk constantly over medium heat to avoid burning the mixture. after about 10 minutes, the bechamel will start to thicken. you are aiming for a thick, creamy, and warm mixture. season with salt and pepper and remove from the heat.
• place half of the pasta mixture in the prepared pan. add a few tablespoons of bolognese. cover with half of the bechamel sauce. top with remaining pasta and repeat until all bolognese and bechamel sauce have been used up. sprinkle with fresh, grated parmesan.
• bake for 20-25 minutes. if the top starts to brown and looks dried out, cover loosly with foil.
The Urban Baker / SusanSalzman.com