I got two massive parsnips in my organic veg box, and spent days considering what to do with them. They really were whoppers – one was about a foot long! – and weighed in at about 200g each. I considered making parsnip soup, but DH isn’t a big soup fan. And I thought about roasting them, but I thought they might be a bit too big and woody to really shine in a dish of roasted veggies.
I had a think about flavours that would work well with a parsnip or two. These included curry spices, thyme, garlic, mustard, honey, maple syrup, smoky flavours, hard cheese, apples and coconut. TOO MUCH CHOICE! Oh, indecision…
In the end, I needed to get dinner on the table. We’d had potatoes the previous night, and rice the night before, so I reached for the pasta. I mentally skimmed through the ‘flavours’ list and picked garlic, mustard and cheese. And then, I made this delicious parsnip & pasta dish 🙂
If you’re the sort of person who likes to hide vegetables in unexpected places, this is for you. The sauce is thick, creamy, cheesy and delicious. I thought it tasted of parsnips in quite an obvious way, but having identified the cheese, mustard etc, DH couldn’t guess what my ‘secret ingredient’ was. He insisted that I include parsnip in the name of the recipe, so that no-one would be duped into eating cheesy pasta, only to discover they’d consumed a big plate of delicious root vegetables too.
Kipper meanwhile ate a huge bowl of cheesy parsnip pasta bake and even asked for seconds. She is a big fan of macaroni cheese, so it wasn’t a big surprise. Parsnip-y goodness. Yum.
A further advantage of this parsnip sauce (apart from being utterly delicious and containing a portion of vegetables) is that it’s also gluten-free. Obviously the pasta isn’t, but if you wanted a wheat/gluten-free cheesy sauce for something else, I think this would be a great option.
This made enough for 2 adults, a child, and a portion leftover for lunch. I’d say 3-4. It’s quite saucy, so you can easily add more pasta to bulk it out if you need to feed more people.
- 400g parsnips
- 6 cloves garlic
- 175g short pasta
- 300ml milk
- 25g butter
- 1 tsp English mustard
- 100g grated cheddar
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Peel the parsnips and cut into chunks. Peel the garlic cloves. Put the parsnips and garlic into a pan, cover with water and bring to the boil. Simmer for 8-10 minutes or until tender. Drain.
- Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the packet. Drain and set aside.
- Preheat the grill to medium-high.
- Puree the drained parsnips and garlic in a food processor together with the milk, butter, mustard and 50g of the cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Mix the drained pasta with the parsnip sauce and pour into a baking dish. Scatter over the remaining 50g cheese.
- Cook under the hot grill for 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and golden and everything is bubbling hot.
Since it contains a load of yummy parsnips in what would otherwise just be pasta & cheese, I’m entering this parsnip pasta bake into the Extra Veg challenge, organised by Fuss Free Flavours and Utterly Scrummy.
November’s ‘The Vegetable Palette’ colour is white – parsnips! The challenge is organised by A2K – A Seasonal Veg Table and is full of lovely seasonal vegetarian recipes.
Since the parsnips came from our local organic veg box, supplied by the Cambridge Organic Food Company, I’m also entering this in the to Shop Local challenge, hosted by Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary.
Finally, since this is a very autumnal dish, I’m putting it forward for Simple and in Season, hosted this month by Feeding Boys, and organised by Ren at renbehan.com