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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Leek & Sweet Basil Bake

Lately I've had extremely busy work weeks and just want to have a healthy, warm, carefree dinner so I can make the most of my evenings. If you're going for big aromas and deep, rich flavors, casseroles and bakes are just what you need for anytime comfort food.


Here is a recipe which I really enjoyed making (and eating) and I'm sure you'll fall in love with it all and the warmth it brings to your home. So here we go let's go through this recipe so you can make your own for dinner this week.


LEEK AND BASIL BAKE
SERVES 4


- 2 Cups Elbow Macaroni, cooked, strained and put aside
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- 3 Tablespoons of butter or margarine
- 4 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
- 2 Cup of Milk
- 3 medium sized leeks, whites thinly sliced and lightly fried in butter
- About 7-8 leaves of sweet basil (any type of basil can be used)
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- 1 1/2 Cup grated mozzarella cheese
- 1/4 Cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 Cup Bread crumbs


1. Cook the pasta in a pot of salted, boiling water and set aside in a strainer.
2. To make the béchamel sauce, melt the butter in a large pot (large enough to contain the sauce and the pasta you just set aside). Whisk in the flour into the butter and whisk for 1 minute while the flour is cooking with the butter. Whisk in the milk into the flour mixture a little at a time. You will notive that it will thicken up pretty fast, while bringing it to a simmer.
3. Once the sauce has come to a simmer and has thickened, drop previously fried leeks and the basil in the sauce and simmer a few minutes. Add to the pot the cooked elbow macaroni and stir everything together. Stir into the pasta, 1 cup of the grated mozzarella cheese.
**At this stage, it makes quite a nice macaroni and cheese dish and could be eaten like so.***
To create the bake:
4. Preheat oven at 375F. Pour your pasta and cheese dish into a large ceramic casserole dish. Large enough to fill the dish with the pasta ( I used a 9inch circle by 3 inches deep). Sprinkle on top the 1/2 cup of grated cheese, the Parmesan and lastly the bread crumbs. Place in oven until the top is of a lovely golden color.


Ohhhhhhh just thinking of it, makes me want some more! Hope you get to try this recipe out pretty soon, its a pretty good one! :)

Eat well, sleep well and till next time!

Alix

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