Sunday, August 23, 2015

Pasta Pie

Pasta pie
Pasta pie
One pie that I had wanted to bake for a pretty long time was a pasta pie. An attempt a while ago turned out to be a little dry and I wasn't satisfied with the outcome. But yesterday I tried it again and I was pretty happy with it. For the filling I used about 2 cups of elbow macaroni.

I used some lovely red tomatoes for this simple sauce. Other ingredients were shredded chicken and half a dozen chicken sausages.
My flower-shaped tin, well-behaved speckled pastry, & the filling
I have had this flower-shaped mould for donkey's years and I don't remember when it got burnt so badly that no amount of cleaning will ever remove the scars. But it still remains one of my favourites. Cakes look so much prettier in this tin when you turn them upside down.
Ingredients for the pastry:
100 grams cold butter, cubed
220 grams all-purpose flour
1 large egg + extra for the egg wash
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp dried thyme
Add the pepper and the thyme  to the flour. Mix well.
Rub the butter into the flour till the mixture turns crumbly.
Break  the egg  into the dough and bring it together. If you feel that the mix needs a little more moisture, sprinkle some iced water.
Flatten the dough, wrap it in clingfilm, and chill it for at least 40 minutes or overnight.
The stages of making the tomato sauce
The sauce:
9 ripe tomatoes, blanched, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 large onions, chopped fine
4 cloves of garlic,diced
2 tsp ground pepper
1 tsp red chilli powder
Salt & sugar to taste
2 tbs olive oil
Heat the oil in a pan. Fry the onions till the colour changes. Throw in the garlic. Cook for a couple of minutes then add the tomatoes. Add the chilli powder and cook for about 10 minutes. Season with salt and add the sugar for the balance. Check for any adjustments before taking the pan off the heat. Set aside.
I usually do not add two large onions to this quantity of tomatoes but the filling had to be full of flavour!
The pasta:
2 cups pasta
Salt to taste
Boil water in a pan. Throw in the pasta and add the salt. Remove when it's almost done. The pasta should be firm and not mushy. Drain in a colander.
The rest of the filling:
1 cup well-seasoned shredded chicken
6 chicken sausages, chopped and fried with 
1 chopped onion
100 grams herbed cheese, grated
Cooked vegetables & about 2 tbs chicken stock (optional)
Transfer the drained pasta to a bowl. Pour the sauce and mix well. Add the shredded chicken and the sausages with the onions. I also added some beans and carrots that had been cooked in chicken stock earlier. I added two tablespoons of that as I didn't want the filling to be dry. Add the grated cheese and give it a good mix.
Before and after pictures. No flipping done as yet.
Grease the tin and set aside.
Take the dough out of the fridge and roll out a little bigger than the size of the tin. Press on the edges and cut off the overhanging extra dough.
Add the filling but don't pile it high as the pie will be turned upside down later. Think about a flat even bottom.
Roll another round disc as big as the tin and cover the pie with it. Wet the edges with water or egg and press so that the border is sealed. Prick with a fork for the steam to escape.
Brush with egg and bake in a preheated oven at 180C for 30-40 minutes or till it turns golden brown.
Remove from the oven and cool for about 10 minutes.

Flipped it...ready for the egg wash and some more oven heat
Flip it on a baking tray and brush the surface (which was the bottom earlier) with egg and put it back in the still-hot oven for 5 minutes.
Remove and cool.

Cut into wedges and enjoy!
All the filling did not go into this pie. There was some left and I made two small pies with lattice tops. No pictures were taken as my attention was on this one.:)
Adding the vegetables and a bit of the stock made the filling better. The filling remained moist. This has been a most-satisfying pie-baking session. The moment I cut a wedge I knew it was going to taste wonderful. And as I tasted the first bite, I couldn't stop smiling....
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