If you follow me on Instagram, you may have spotted this epic pasta bake on my Stories last night! We were both in the mood for some comfort food, and what is more comforting than a pasta bake?
We hadn’t made one in forever, and although it’s the easiest thing to make, I did Google some recipes for inspiration. However, I found a real lack of vegetarian pasta bake recipes on the web. Everything either uses tuna or sausage, or chorizo, which all sound delicious, but we had a lot of vegetables to use up and I was after a more cheesy, Italian style pasta bake – think olives, pepper, basil, mozzarella.
So, for the first time ever, I decided to make it up as I went along! And it turned out perfectly… If I do say so myself.
I must give Tesco credit for the addition of balsamic vinegar though. I spotted that on one of their recipes and was inspired.
Ingredients (serves 6):
- 1 brown onion, diced
- 1 red onion, diced
- 1 chilli, finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed and finely chopped
- 1 red pepper, chopped
- 1 courgette, chopped
- 1 handful cherry tomatoes
- 1/2 jar pitted black olives
- 1/2 can sweetcorn
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1x 400g chopped tomatoes
- 100g mozzarella
- 100g cheddar, grated
- 500g whole wheat pasta
- 1 bunch fresh basil, roughly chopped
- Rapeseed oil, salt and black pepper
- Heat a large frying pan with a little rapeseed oil over a medium heat. Add the onions, garlic and chilli and cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Add the red pepper, courgette and cherry tomatoes and cook for a further 5 minutes until softened.
- Stir through the black olives, sweetcorn and oregano. Add the balsamic vinegar and turn the heat up so it starts to bubble and reduce.
- After a minute or two, add the chopped tomatoes, turn the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes.
- In the meantime, cook the pasta in a large pan following packet instructions.
- Preheat your oven to 180 degrees. Once cooked, drain the pasta and add half of the sauce, stirring thoroughly. Spoon the remaining half into a mixer and blend to a pulp. Add this to the pan of pasta and stir once more.
- Spoon half of the combined mixture into a large, deep roasting dish. Sprinkle half of the mozzarella and basil over.
- Top with the remaining mix and sprinkle over the rest of the mozzarella and basil.
- Scatter with the cheddar and season with salt and black pepper. Cook in the oven for a further 15-20 minutes, or until the cheese has turned golden.