10 August 2011

Beef & Spinach Pasta Bake : sounds good, doesn't it?

Shame it didn't live up to expectation!

I found this recipe on www.foodwhine.com and, although it contained both a condensed soup and a pasta sauce, for some reason I felt it sounded like it could wind up being a bit of a surprise hit.

It looked interesting, saucy, cheesy and lovely.  I felt that with the addition of our local butcher's great beef mince, we couldn't go wrong.


What was even more galling was that I used our own home-grown Spinach Beet leaves, instead of the straight spinach.

The whole thing was just a huge disappointment.

Instead of including the spinach in with the meat mixture, I (just) wilted it and added it as the first layer in the casserole dish.  It still retained a teensy bit of crunch.

Next, I gently fried off the onion and garlic, setting that aside to brown the mince.  I then added the onion and garlic back to the pan, adding the pasta sauce and soup.

Next came the cooked pasta, stir it all through and into the casserole dish.  I topped it with mozzarella cheese and the parmesan and baked for 20 minutes or so, to melt the cheese and make sure everything was piping hot.

Now, I know I did certain moves in a different order to the original recipe, but the whole thing turned out to be terribly (no, terribly) bland.  The pasta sauce just disappeared and the soupy mixture appeared to have no flavour either.  The beef (which, in the frying pan, had tasted great) was tasteless.  The spinach beet went slimy and in fact, the only bit worth eating was the bit with mozzarella on it!  Anything lower than the mozzarella layer just wasn't worth the effort.

Common sense was telling me that mixing a pasta sauce and a condensed soup couldn't possibly end in anything other than the bin, so maybe next time I'll listen to it. 



  1. This has upset me a bit.....
    Not the 'bin' thing, as throwing away food is a No! No! in my book.
    On a previous post, this was mentioned, and, once again shell pasta has been used in this case....
    NO! the pasta to use in Tagliatelle. It has more surface area, to absorb the sauce, and keeps the dish together, so to speak....
    I did a Pasta Forno on Sunday...They could'nt get enough of it.....So do try it with Tagliatelle...! :)

  2. Willie, just to put your mind at rest, the remainder of the dish didn't actually go in the bin - it went into me for lunch the next day. I really don't throw food away - not unless it's so disgusting that it can't be eaten.

    I have a very good reason for not being able to use Tagliatelle - and one which I'm afraid I'm not prepared to go into on the blog here. You'll just have to trust me that it really IS a very good reason!

    The overweening problem with this dish was the conglomeration of the pasta sauce with the condensed soup. They effectively cancelled each other out, flavour wise. If I was to do this dish again (and don't rule it out!), I'd make a tomato sauce and make the creamy mushroom sauce, rather than rely on pre-processed versions. At least, that way, I could be sure they wouldn't cancel each other out! :)

  3. Oh dear! Shame it didn't work but the pasta sauce and condensed soup doesn't really appeal....! Maybe some future tweaking might work wonders, it certainly looks like the kind of dish would cook my dearest!


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