Simon’s pasta bake comes out of the oven with its creamy mushroom sauce bubbling and large ribbons of pasta golden brown on top
- 500ml/18fl oz milk
- 20g/¾oz dried porcini mushrooms
- 40g/1½oz butter
- 25g/1oz plain flour
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 100g/4oz pappardelle (large pasta ribbons)
- 50g/2oz pancetta, cut into 2cm/1in pieces
- 4-5 tbsp freshly grated parmesan
Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/gas 5.
Warm the milk in a saucepan, add the porcini mushrooms, remove from the heat and soak for 10 mins. Strain through a sieve suspended over a bowl, pressing lightly on the mushrooms with the back of ladle to extract all the milk. Keep the mushrooms for later use.
Heat the butter in a clean saucepan, add the flour and stir over a low heat for 2-3 mins without colouring the roux.
Pour in the porcini-flavoured milk all in one go and whisk together vigorously until smooth. Cook the sauce for a further 10 mins, or until the sauce has thickened. Season lightly with salt and freshly ground black pepper and set aside.
Bring a large pan of salted water to a rolling boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain in a colander, tip into a roomy bowl and carefully stir in the sauce, porcini and pancetta until well combined.
Place the pasta into a lightly buttered oven-proof dish. Smooth the surface and cover with 2 tbsps of the parmesan. Bake in the oven for 30-40 mins, or until bubbling around the edges and golden brown.
Serve the dish piping hot at the dinner table and have extra cheese at the ready.
If you can't find pappardelle pasta, you could use tagliatelle or even broken lasagne sheets.