Baked Pasta Florentine

These last few weeks really have been all about clearing out the cupboards and fridge – partly in preparation for all of the yummy Christmas food that we’re slowly starting to build up. Over the last two weeks I’ve posted two risotto recipes, one for Chicken and Tomato Risotto and another for Sausage and Asparagus Risotto both of which went down really well! But with Christmas shopping, Law Exams (I’m officially two exams closer to being a solicitor!) and keeping down a part time job, it’s been really hard to stick to any sort of meal plan and our fridge is looking a little sad and lost.

Yet again this week we had a number of ingredients sat at the back of the cupboard that desperately needed eating up in particular spinach and eggs. I’ve always thought that spinach and eggs were a GREAT combination! Whether you’re making eggs Benedict, a spinach omelette, or even on a pizza… Who else loves the Fiorentina pizza in Pizza Express? And it seems that the people of Florentine agree so this dish is inspired by them. It may not be traditional, but it’s my twist on their way of cooking.

With all of these dishes in mind I decided to come up with a pasta dish that would be rich and filling, without going straight to your hips. Portion control is key with this dish; with the cracked egg oozing on top you don’t need to pile your plate high with the pasta underneath, and a little cream goes a long way. We are not looking to have a thick sumptuous sauce, but instead a flavoursome coating which brings all the ingredients together. If you are extra careful and make substitutions like 1 cal spray instead of olive oil, and use a low-fat cream this doesn’t have to spell the end of a diet.

We are all trying to be really good in this house in the run up to Christmas. The Mr has nearly lost a whole stone! (Round of applause to him) And I am almost back down to where I should be. Just in time for all of the Christmas buffets to start tempting us again. But ho-hum! In the meantime I will keep cooking healthy, balanced meals in the hope that come Christmas we can enjoy the naughty extras guilt free!

I’d recommend serving this with a good chunk of crusty white ciabbatta or garlic bread to soak up the creamy juices and oozing egg yolk.

Baked Pasta Florentine

Baked Pasta Florentine (v)

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Serving Size: Serves 2 - 4 people

Ingredients

  • 6 handfuls whole wheat pasta
  • 2 bags of spinach
  • 1 large onion
  • 3 garlic gloves
  • 2 cups of light cream
  • Oil spray
  • 2 large tomatoes
  • 6 tbsp grated parmesan
  • 4 large eggs
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 5.
  2. First of all, set a pan of water to boil and cook the pasta.
  3. When the pasta has just begun to soften, fry the onion (finely chopped) and the garlic (crushed) in a large, deep pan with the calorie controlling oil spray.
  4. When they have begun to soften, add a little of the pasta water to the pan before evenly spacing slices of tomato across the base of the pan.
  5. Place the spinach on top and allow it to wilt. You may have to do this a little at a time if your dish is not deep enough.
  6. Once the spinach has wilted and the pasta is cooked, transfer the pasta into the pan of vegetables and add the cream and 2 tbsp of the parmesan.
  7. Stir to ensure the whole mix is combined and then bubble for 2-3mins. At this stage you should season to taste.
  8. Lastly, crack the eggs into the pan one at a time straight on to the pasta.
  9. Sprinkle over the last of the parmesan and then transfer the dish to a hot oven.
  10. Cook in the oven for roughly 5 mins, or until the egg whites have cooked and the parmesan has begun to turn golden. Don’t bake for too long as you want to make sure you get a runny yolk!
  11. Once the eggs are fully baked, serve straight out of the pan with some crusty bread.
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This recipe is also great in the run up to Christmas as it won’t do too much damage to your bank balance!

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