This is the kind of food you can only eat about once a year, because it makes you feel like you might explode. Pleasantly explode, though.
The other day I had a sudden craving for spaghetti alfredo. So I made it, and because I can’t tell how much pasta should go in the pan I ended up making about four times too much, and then I had a load left over, and then I thought… I’m sure I could make some sort of incredibly decadent pasta bake with this.
So I did.
You can, therefore, make this recipe over two days: make the alfredo on day one, and then use whatever’s left over to make the bake.
For the alfredo, you will need:
- 300g double cream
- 50g butter
- a couple of teaspoons of olive oil
- 75g parmesan
- ground nutmeg
- white pepper
- basil leaves
You will need to:
Put the pasta on to boil.
Heat the butter in a little saucepan. Once it’s melted, add half the double cream, along with some nutmeg, salt and white pepper. Boil it down until it’s thicker and there’s less of it.
When the pasta’s ready, pour the butter-cheese mixture over it. Stir it in.
Add the rest of the cream, do a bit more seasoning with salt, pepper and nutmeg if you like. Stir in the olive oil.
Chop the basil leaves and add them in.
Add the parmesan and stir.
For the base of the bake, you will need:
- sweet potatoes (or, like I called them the other day when I forgot the word, “sugary ground apples”)
- 500g spinach
- 25g parmesan
- salt & pepper
- ground nutmeg
- hazelnut milk
- a couple of sprigs of fresh rosemary
- a couple of sprigs of fresh thyme
- three cloves of garlic
- one whole nutmeg
- butter, for greasing
You will need to:
Several hours before you want to eat this, pour some hazelnut milk into a tub. I used a Swedish Glace ice cream tub and it took up about 3/4 of the tub.
Peel the cloves of garlic. Add these, the fresh herbs, and the one whole nutmeg to the milk tub, and place in the fridge to infuse.
A few hours later, remove the milk mixture from the fridge and put the whole thing into a saucepan. Heat gradually on a very low heat while you’re dealing with the sweet potatoes.
Preheat the oven to 180.
Peel the sweet potatoes, then chop them as thinly as you can.
Grease a baking tray / cast iron skillet / whatever you normally cook stuff in.
Place a layer of sweet potato on the bottom of the tray.
Season half the spinach with ground nutmeg (I find the easiest way to do this is to open the bag of spinach, pour some nutmeg in, then shake the bag around).
Layer the nutmegged spinach onto the sweet potatoes in the baking tray.
By this point, the milk mixture should be close to boiling. Remove it from the heat just before it boils and leave it to continue infusing for a bit.
Repeat with another layer of sweet potatoes and another layer of spinach.
Then make a final layer with however much sweet potato you have left.
Grab a sieve and pour the milk mixture onto the vegetables in the tray, through the sieve so you don’t end up with giant herbs in your meal.
Stick it in the oven and bake at 180ish for 20 minutes.
Remove from the oven, add the pasta alfredo and spread around to form a top layer. By this time, the spinach will have cooked down a bit, so it should be easy to fit in the tray.
Pour some breadcrumbs over it.
Add the rest of the parmesan.
Bake for a further 20-25 minutes, until brown and crispy on top.
I can also confirm that this makes an equally good cold leftover breakfast the next morning.