Bring a storybook forest scene to life with Josh Eggleton’s creative penne pasta dish.
To make the broccoli purée, bring to boil a large pan of heavily-salted water. Cut the broccoli from the stem and place into the pot to cook for 6-8 minutes or until soft and slightly overcooked.
Transfer the broccoli into a blender with 5tbsp of the cooking water. Add the spinach, butter and mascarpone and blend until smooth.
Place a small pan over a very low heat and transfer the purée to keep it warm. Season with salt and pepper.
In salted boiling water add the penne and leave to cook for 10 minutes - stir it 3 times during cooking. Drain and mix with the broccoli purée.
Now onto the cheese sauce; bring to boil the bay leaf, milk and onions. Once boiled, remove from the heat and leave to rest for approximately 15 minutes. Preheat your oven to Gas Mark 6, 200°C, 180°C.
In another pan, melt the 25g butter. Once it starts to bubble, stir in the flour and leave to cook for 30 seconds. Strain in the milk and whisk together until it starts to resemble a thin custard.
Remove from the heat and stir the cheese and peas into the mix then follow with the pasta.
Transfer the entire mixture into a baking dish and put in the oven for 12 minutes.
Whilst the mixture is in the oven, cut the stems off the purple sprouting broccoli to approximately 12cm long so they resemble little trees – a great step to get the little ones help with.
In boiling water, cook the broccoli for 4 minutes, then drain.
From the oven remove the pasta bake. Once the broccoli has cooled down, allow the little ones to plant the broccoli trees into the top of the bake so it starts to resemble a forest – a great opportunity to tell a short story.
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