This pasta bake is perfect with a dry white wine with a floral bouquet, such as Pinot Grigio. I won’t say it’s a “quick and easy” dish, because it’s not. But it’s not difficult either. The end result is worth the effort put into making it. This dish is light, delicious, and unique.
- Fresh fillet of any lean white fish (I used perch) – 800g
- Wide tubular pasta (ideally “calamarata”, but since it’s difficult to find, I used “cannelloni” cut into four pieces each) – 250g (dry weight)
- Broccoli – 300g
- Bechamel sauce – 250g (those who don’t want to make it themselves can buy ready-made in a store)
- Shallots – 4 bulbs
- Small piece of butter to grease the dish
- Dry white wine – 150ml
- Saffron – 0.25g
- Parsley – 2 sprigs
- Allspice – a couple of grains
- Bay leaves – 2 pieces
- Olive oil – 2 tablespoons
- Freshly ground black pepper.
Boil water in a large pot, there should be plenty of water.
Salt the water and add saffron, stir until all the saffron is dissolved and the water is colored yellow.
Cook the pasta on high heat (water should be vigorously boiling) for 4 minutes (no longer!)
Drain the water.
Add olive oil to the pasta, mix very carefully so as not to damage the tubes.
Spread the tubes on a large flat dish separately from each other, so that they do not stick together and let them cool.
Divide the broccoli into small florets.
Cook the broccoli for 7 minutes under a lid over steam (I used a simple steamer for this).
Cut the fish fillet into pieces 5-6 cm long, salt and pepper.
Fry the fish pieces on a large frying pan in olive oil for half a minute on each side.
Add sliced shallots, two whole parsley sprigs, bay leaf, allspice seeds and pour in dry white wine to the fish.
Simmer covered on low heat for 10 minutes.
Remove parsley, bay leaf, and allspice seeds from the frying pan.
Break the fish into small pieces with a fork directly in the frying pan.
Grease a large timbale mold (or a small pot with a flat bottom), 16 cm in diameter and 9 cm high with butter, cover the bottom with baking paper cut to size.
If using cannelloni, like me, cut each one into four parts.
Insert small broccoli florets into the tubes (the number should correspond to the size of the mold or pot, about 18), trimming them to size if necessary.
Place the broccoli-filled tubes (perpendicular to the bottom of the mold, so that the broccoli faces down) on the bottom of the mold.
Fill the tubes with the broken-up fish, placing them along the wall of the mold, parallel to the bottom, so that the fish looks, so to speak, towards the wall. Place all the walls up to the top. I ended up with two rows.
Mix the remaining pasta, fish, and broccoli in a bowl with Béchamel sauce.
Spread this mixture into the empty space in the middle, packing it down well.
Cover the mold with baking paper, put the pasta mold into a larger one with water (to create a water bath).
Bake in a preheated oven at 190 degrees Celsius for 20 minutes.
Keep the cake in the turned-off oven for another 10 minutes.
Remove from the oven, remove the paper from the top, and lightly run a knife along the top edge of the mold to release the timbale.