This dish is an ideal vegetarian main – or a hearty side dish. You can use a variety of tubular pastas such as penne or rigatoni, but for an organic and gluten-free option, use Ceres Quinoa-Rice Penne with Ceres White Rice Flour.
tubular pasta, such as penne or rigatoni
2 tbsp olive oil
small knob of butter
1 large leek, white and pale green part thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tsp finely chopped rosemary
1 bay leaf
300g button mushrooms, sliced
2 zucchini, thickly sliced
2 cups packed, shredded silverbeet leaves
juice and zest of a lemon
60g flour (or rice flour)
1⁄2 teaspoon ground nutmeg or allspice
3 cups milk
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
3 tbsp basil pesto
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Lightly grease an 8-cup capacity baking dish. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Cook the pasta in a large saucepan of boiling salted water until al dente.
Don’t over-cook, as it will be cooked again. Drain well, rinse in cold water, toss in a little olive oil and set aside.
Heat olive oil and butter in a large sauté pan. Add the leek, garlic, rosemary and bay leaf with a good pinch of salt. Cook covered, until the leek is soft. Add the mushrooms and zucchini and cook until tender, increasing the heat to evaporate the excess liquid given off by the mushrooms. Add the silverbeet and turn it to wilt. Stir in the lemon zest and juice, the nutmeg and seasoning. Remove from the heat and discard the bay leaf.
Melt the butter in a saucepan over a medium heat and stir in the flour and spice. Cook for 1 minute, stirring regularly, then gradually whisk in the milk to make a smooth sauce. Bring to the boil and simmer over a very low heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season and stir in the pesto.
Combine half the sauce with the vegetables and pasta, and tip into the baking dish. Top with the remaining sauce and scatter with Parmesan, a few small pieces of butter and a grind of pepper.
Bake for 25-30 minutes until the top is golden and bubbling. Fry a few sage leaves in a little olive oil until crisp, and scatter over the top before serving.