Noodle Casserole

Carola's Vegetarian Casserole

I'm sure most of you already do this, especially if you're an ESOL teacher with lots of students from all over the world, but just in case you haven't yet - sharing students' recipes, even with Business English students can be great fun and an interesting way to check if they know the different words for types of food they like in English; phrases for food preparation  and giving instructions.   

I used to do this activity a lot in Ecuador when I lived there, it was part of our "Concentrating on Conversation" Friday course and once a month we'd have sessions in the kitchen together.  

(We also played Casino on other days, but that's another story)


Now that I work online a great deal, I've also tried applying this activity to our community platform too and recently, Carola (who I've never met - she's a tele-student) wrote this incredibly easy and very delicious recipe for me:

For the recipe, you need the following ingredients:

250 g pasta (e.g. Penne)
2 bell peppers (I like the red and yellow ones best)
1 zucchini
1 onion
some olive oil
1 clove of garlic
250 g cream (perhaps you can use soy cream, here - I am sorry, but I have not found any noodle casserole recipe without cream...)
a tablespoonful of tomato puree
herbs (basil, thyme)
250 g cheese (slices or grated) (e.g. Gouda)

Cook the pasta (see instructions on the package for the exact cooking time).

Cut the onion, wash and cut the bell peppers and the zucchini. Heat some olive oil in a pan and fry the onion together with the zucchini and the bell peppers - just for a short time, the vegetables have to be "al dente".

For the sauce:
Mix the cream with a tablespoonful of tomato puree, add some salt, pepper, chili, and herbs (e.g. basil and thyme), and a clove of garlic cut in small pieces (or you can use a garlic press). You can also add an egg to the sauce, if you like.
Now put the pasta in the casserole, mix with the fried vegetables and the sauce and cover it all with some slices of cheese or grated cheese.

Put the casserole in the preheated oven (at a temperature of about 180 °C) for about 20 minutes.

Then enjoy your meal! :-)
I would say that the recipe is for about two to four persons (depending on the appetite..).   As I have already told you, what I like best about this recipe is that, when you have guests, you can prepare the casserole, put it in the oven, clean up the kitchen, and then all you have to do is wait till it's ready, i.e. you don't have to do much more cooking when your guests have arrived.
The other thing is that you can vary the recipe as you like, e.g. use some other vegetables (for example, leek or spinach). 

I hope you like the casserole! Looking forward to hearing from you! :-)

Cooking with students, whether it's in person or on a community/ blogging platform is a lot of fun , a good learning activity and a great sharing experience.

Silke's Cherry&ChocChip Cake
Some things I've noticed since turning this into a digital exercise is that my students get the chance to practice writing out instructions and reviewing their language mistakes and errors more than once (not quite the same as them bringing in the food to cook and telling us how to do it in person - although the benefit there is that a lot of emergent language occurs at the same time); looking up the English words for ingredients online, sharing preferences with each other and of course, adding photos afterward to show how their recipes turned out is a good bit of fun social-media silliness which can help them to remember the experience of the language!

Have you done any cooking with your (online) students?  How did it go?

Useful links related to this posting:
More lesson ideas


3 Responses to “Noodle Casserole”

  • Tara says:
    August 25, 2010

    I love virtual cooking with English learners.They have fantastic recipes and just have a unique way with the language that can be so tasty. A while back we did recipes for 2010 (not food, but still great recipes). I'll share this recipe with you. This was the icing my mom always used on my birthday cake. It's my favourite taste in the world and it's useful for learning English too:

  • Michael Stout says:
    August 27, 2010

    Hi Karenne,
    Thanks for this. I agree, food and recipes provide wonderful opportunities for language learning. I've done some cooking and sharing of recipes before. One of the best experiences I had was cooking oatmeal porridge with my high school students when we were studying Oliver Twist. It really gave them a sense of what Oliver was feeling. Unfortunately, NONE of them liked the oatmeal LOL! So every time this task was done a lot of oatmeal got wasted.
    Oh, just to clarify, this wasn't my idea. Can't remember who's idea it was. This task was done as part of the Oliver Twist unit of study before I started at that school. The students followed the recipe in the Black Cat reader we were using. I wonder if they still do it. My guess is that they don't because it took a lot of work to organise, even though it was done repeatedly. Long story...
    Anyway, last semester I got the students in a class for seniors I teach to write up and exchange recipes. I asked them if I could put all the recipes together in a kind of online cookbook but they refused. One lady said her recipe wasn't anything special and she'd be ashamed to publish it. Oh well. Maybe I'll try again.

  • Mike Harrison says:
    August 28, 2010

    Oooh, very good idea!

    I posted some pics from out end of year party a while back

    I'll have to work in a recipe exchange lesson or two during 10/11 =)

    I also recently photographed my own recent cookery attempts at making tortilla de patatas, annotated. Maybe this is another aspect that could be incorporated into foodie lessons/exchanges like this - a sort of picture-recipe!

    Cheers for the inspiration



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