So I was flicking through a lunchbox cookbook I have and I came across this pasta bake, it used simple ingredients, it was quick to make and I thought why not try it. I thought I'd make it the night before and reheat it, but that didn't happen, so I made it fresh in the morning. I wake early, but in all honesty, I started it at 6:20am, in less than an hour it was in his thermos and ready for school. It so easy and quick to make.
The flavour, it was delicious, simple clean tomato pasta flavour, in all honesty I wasn't expecting it to be as good as it was. For me it had enough cheese, sometimes pasta bakes can have too much cheese, and for those that don't love cheese, you just move the cheese from the top in this bake and it is a simple pasta beneath.
The original recipe said to use either 500g good quality pork sausages or 500g pork and veal mince, I had 400g the mince at home and it worked perfectly. If using sausages, remove the casings and cut into small chunks and add them when the mince goes in, in the recipe below.
The tomatoes add a burst of flavour here, they are amazing in the bake. Basil I love, so I added as much as I wanted to. With the sauce I added a 400g of Barilla pasta sauce as that is the only one that I love, but I needed 500g sauce, so I just added 100g tomato passata that I had in the fridge, it was perfect, but if you have a 500g jar of pasta sauce you love, just add that.
If you don't have fresh mozzarella balls, use the set ones, it will still work. Just slice them and put them on top.
This is a great dinner idea to, so quick and easy to make and your family will love it.
2 tablespoons olive oil
500g penne pasta
1 brown onion, diced
500g pork and veal mince
400g jar Barilla Basilico Pasta Sauce
100g tomato passata
1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
250g cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup basil leaves
200g fresh mozzarella, torn
Preheat oven to 180C/160C fan forced.
Bring a pot of salted water to the boil.
Drizzle a little oil into your baking dish, just so the pasta doesn't stick.
Heat oil in a large frying pan over a medium-high heat, add onions, cook about 3 minutes or until soft, Add mince, cook, stirring occasionally, breaking it up, for 6 minutes or until browned. Stir in pasta sauce and passata, rinse the pasta sauce bottle with about 1/2 cup water and add it to the frying pan, add 1/3 of the basil, season with salt and pepper, bring to the boil. reduce heat to low-medium and simmer and cook for about 20 minutes or until your sauce has thickened.
When you have 10 minutes left of your sauce to cook, add the pasta to the boiling salted water.
When your sauce is done, stir in the extra virgin olive oil, cherry tomatoes and half of the remaining basil Taste for seasoning.
Drain pasta, return to the saucepan, pour over your sauce, stir to combine. Spoon the pasta into your baking dish, top with mozzarella.
Bake for 20 minutes or until the cheese melts. Scatter with the remaining basil leaves and serve for dinner or place into a thermos for school or work lunch.
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