TO DRINK: Constantia Uitsig Chardonnay Unwooded
Italian pasta bake with asparagus, peas and mozzarella
- 3 sliced loaves of white bread, crusts removed
- 2 x 500g packs rigatoni pasta
- 120ml butter
- 40ml olive oil
- 3 onions, chopped
- 300g fresh peas
- 400g asparagus, chopped
- 3 x 425g tins Italian peeled tomatoes, chopped
- 100ml fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
- 500ml fresh cream
- 600g mozzarella, cubed
- 200g Parmesan, freshly grated
- salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Grease 2 x 20cm springform tins and line the bottom and sides with the bread, fitting them tightly. Reserve several slices for the top.
Cook the pasta in plenty of boiling salted water until al dente and drain.
In a large frying pan, melt 40ml of the butter over a medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the peas and asparagus and cook for another minute. Add the tomatoes and fresh cream, stirring to combine, and bring to a simmer. Set aside 250ml of the sauce.
Add the pasta to the sauce and toss. Stir in the mozzarella and half of the Parmesan and season to taste. Pour the pasta into the tins and press down. Cover with the remaining bread. Sprinkle the remaining Parmesan and butter over.
Bake for 40 minutes. Let cool for 30 minutes, then turn out and slice. Serve with the tomato sauce and Parmesan.