Vegetable Pasta Bake

IMG_5864This vegetable pasta bake is so simple to make that it’s almost not worth posting about, but at the same time, it’s actually so very yummy that I had to post. Contradictory much? It is not that quick (1 hour from cutting up vegetables to eating), but it’s definitely easy.

I used 1 small aubergine, 1 green pepper, 6 button mushrooms, all cut up in relatively small pieces. Mixed it up with 2 cloves of minced garlic, a good glug of olive oil, a splash of balsamic vinegar, 2 generous pinches of salt and pepper, about a quarter teaspoon of ground thyme and oregano each and throw it into a oven heated to about 220C to 250C for about 15 minutes or until 3/4 soft.

At this point, cook half a packet of your preferred pasta for about half or less of the stated cooking time in salted water.

For the sauce, heat a tablespoon of butter and a splash of olive oil and fry 2 cloves of minced garlic until fragrant but not brown, add a splash of alcohol, preferably vodka or white wine, but I was out so I use Chinese cooking wine (it works) and pour in a can of 8 oz tomato sauce. When your pasta is done, use the tomato sauce can to measure out a can of pasta water and add that to the sauce. Add in a dried bay leaf, a half a teaspoon of oregano, as much chili powder as you like, a lot of black pepper, a dash of paprika a teeny bit of sugar and a splash of Worcestershire sauce. Leave to cook for about 10 minutes and then add a splash of milk and let it simmer for another 5 minutes.

When everything is ready, mix the roasted vegetables, semi-cooked pasta and tomato sauce in a pan, cover with your preferred cheese and dump it back into the oven for another 15 minutes. 5 minutes before it’s done, cover the baked pasta with a layer of ground bread for a bit of crunch (you can also crush some plain biscuits and pour over the pasta when it’s done).

IMG_5865And there, you’re done, a bubbly, delicious hot pan of baked pasta for your enjoyment. I added some crab sticks just because I had some in the fridge.

Was that the most unspecific recipe you’ve ever seen? But my point is that this is something that you can do to your own liking, I did not measure things out, I started out with small amounts and slowly added them till I found a flavour I liked. For the vegetables, you can throw in anything you like, just make sure they are in relatively small pieces, especially for the harder vegetables like peppers, so they can cook relatively fast. I find that the milk took away that touch of acidity from the tomato sauce and the Worcestershire sauce gave the flavour a bit more depth.

I ended up with enough pasta for 4 servings and I wish I could tell you that the taste develops after a night in the fridge, but I can’t, because I dropped my packed box of pasta on the ground after I heated it up for my lunch at work. It’s a butter fingers day.


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