Accidental pasta bake

Here’s a recipe of my own devising. I’ve called it “Accidental pasta bake” because it just ended up as one, having originally been destined to be a regular pasta with sauce. It sort of evolved as I kept thinking of things I had in the freezer and cupboards, so that although I’d envisaged it as a quick and simple supper using a couple of past-their-best tomatoes what I ended up with is a great comfort-food stick-to-your-ribs meal.

Ingredients (for 2 good-sized portions):

  • 2-3 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper
  • chillies (I used the remains of a squeezy tube – approx 2 tsp – but 1 whole fresh chilli with or without seeds is good)
  • tomato puree
  • 1/2 an onion, finely chopped
  • 2-3 garlic gloves, crushed
  • spinach (I used about 3 “block” of the frozen stuff)
  • pasta shapes (approx 4 handfuls)
  • cheese(s) – goats cheese for preference, plus some parmesan and cheddar to top
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil

Method:

Heat the oil in a heavy based pan. Add the onion and garlic and cook til translucent. Add the chilli, and fry for about 1 minute before adding the pepper, tomato, a good squeeze of tomato puree and some salt and pepper. Put the lid on and cook until the tomatoes have broken down and the sauce has a thick, chunky consistency (approx 20-30 minutes). Add some dried mixed herbs and stir through.

Preheat the oven to 180 C (fan). Cook the pasta shapes in salted boiling water as per packet, drain. Defrost the spinach (or wilt in a pan if using fresh); drain off any excess water. Chop up the goats cheese.

Add the spinach to the tomato sauce and stir thoroughly. Put the cooked pasta into an ovenproof dish and stir the sauce in until the pasta is coated. Stir the goats’ cheese through so that’s evenly distributed. Grate some parmesan and a little cheddar over the top, and place the dish in the preheated oven for 20 minutes or until nicely crispy on top.

Serve with garlic bread and a glass of red plonk!

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