Let’s face it. There’s nothing quite as irresistible as a pasta bake. Pasta ranks right up there on the comfort food stakes, and when it’s served all simmering and snug under a blanket of melted cheese…moan… (Great! Now all I’m thinking of is the leftovers in the fridge. Argh!) I love pasta bakes with chunky veggies, which cleverly absorb all the lovely, herby tomatoey flavours in the sauce, while it bakes. I threw this together for dinner with the vegetables that I had in the fridge – mushrooms, zucchini and carrot. Feel free to change the veggies to suit your tastes. There’s a vegetarian alternative given in the recipe. Enjoy!

josashimi’s pasta bake

Ingredients:

200 g bacon, chopped OR 200 g sun dried tomatoes, chopped

300 g zucchini, sliced into batons (about 3 medium-sized zucchini)

200 g carrot, grated (about 2 medium-sized carrots)

200 g mushrooms, sliced

2-4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

200 – 300 g cheese, grated (more, if you like!)

150 g sour cream

400 g canned tomatoes

1/2 tsp mixed dried herbs

500 g pasta

Chopped parsley, to taste

Method:

Heat oil in pan and fry garlic, stirring, for 3-4 minutes (make it  5-8 minutes for the vegetarian option).

Add bacon and cook for a further 5 minutes.

Add zucchini and mushrooms to pan for 5 minutes, then add carrot and dried herbs (and sun dried tomatoes). Cook for further 3-5 minutes, stirring.

Add tomatoes and sour cream, mix thoroughly and bring to a simmer for 2 minutes. Set aside while you cook the pasta.

Cook the pasta a minute or two less than packet instructions. (This will give you a tastier pasta bake, because the slightly undercooked pasta will then finish cooking in the oven, and will better absorb the sauce)

Toss the pasta with the sauce and pour into a baking dish. Top with grated cheese and bake in a 200C oven for 30 minutes, or until the top just begins to brown.

Serve with a generous topping of chopped parsley.

 

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