Spring Pasta Bake with Greens and a Savory Crunch
Serves 6 – 8
8oz elbow pasta (I used Gluten Free Ancient Harvest)
1 c fresh fava beans
1 large handful spinach
2 – 3 spring onions, chopped
1/2 c quick oats
1/4 c raw buckwheat groats
1/4 pine nuts
2 tbsp sesame seeds
2 tbsp dried oregano
1 1/4 almond milk
Olive oil, salt and pepper
*I decided to keep this vegan but some parmesan cheese would be really nice here, or vegans could try adding 1 – 2 tbsp nutritional yeast with the almond milk mixture.
- Preheat the oven to 350F/170C.
- Prepare the vegetables: Shell and cook the fava beans. In a separate pan, lightly sautee the spring onions until translucent and at the end, add the handful of spinach to the hot pan just to wilt it.
- In a large bowl, add the cooked vegetables, a generous dash of sea salt and pepper, 1 tbsp dried oregano, the almond milk, and 1 tbsp olive oil. Stir to combine.
- Cook the pasta as normal however remove from the heat when it is still undercooked. For example, my pasta called for 6 – 9 minutes cooking time and I removed it after 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, spoon the pasta into the bowl of vegetables and almond milk, gently stirring to combine. You want some of the pasta liquid to get in there so don’t worry about being too rigid with the straining. The liquid has starch that will help with the bake. I added ~ 1/3 c of the pasta liquid after adding the noodles.
- Add the pasta to a large baking dish and bake partially covered for ~ 20 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed. By partially covered, I mean loosely and not tightly covered so that air can escape but so as to prevent the top of the pasta from overcooking or drying out.
- Prepare the crunch topping: Toast the buckwheat groats in a hot pan until dark brown (not burnt). In a bowl, add the oats, pine nuts, sesame seeds, 1 tbsp dried oregano, toasted buckwheat groats, and a dash of sea salt, and stir to combine. Then add 1 tbsp olive oil and combine.
- When the bake is almost done, remove the cover and sprinkle the topping on the pasta. Place back in the oven for ~ 5 – 8 minutes uncovered so that the topping gets cooked and crunchy.
- Remove and serve!