Recipe: bacon, cheese and tomato pasta bake

Pasta bake is a firm favourite in our house - even with the eldest, who doesn't usually like any sort of sauce on his food.

Usually,  I am lazy and use a jar of sauce and just whack it in the oven. But last night I decided to try and make my own from scratch. I'm pleased to report, my home-made version was a success and probably tasted better than the usual jar version.



I based my attempt on a recipe from the Tesco website (view the original recipe here). However, as I was feeding 2 adults, 5 children and a baby, I increased some of the ingredients:

Ingredients

  • 250 g dry penne pasta (I used a 500 g bag of wholewheat fusilli as I was feeding the 5000 - well my family and my niece and nephew who I was looking after for the day in half-term).
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 5 rashers of bacon, chopped (I used a pack of 7 slices - again, because I had lots of mouths to feed)
  • Half an onion, diced (I used a whole onion)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 150 g cherry tomatoes, sliced in half (I only had 4 cherry tomatoes as Beatrix had snaffled most of them in her lunch, so I also added a tin of chopped tomatoes)
  • 100 g mushrooms, chopped (I didn't weigh them, but finely chopped around 4 largish mushrooms so they wouldn't be identified by all the children who claim they don't like mushrooms)
  • 1 400g tin of cream of tomato soup
  • 50 ml single cream
  • 8 fresh basil leaves, torn
  • Grated mozzarella (I used half a bag left over from when we made pizza the other day)
  • Grated cheddar 

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C / gas mark 5
  2. Cook the pasta in boiling water for 10 minutes and then drain and place into an oven proof dish
  3. Fry the bacon bits in olive oil for a minute or two
  4. Add the onion and garlic to the bacon until softened
  5. Add the mushrooms and fry until they are soft
  6. Add the cherry tomatoes and the tinned tomatoes and cook for a few minutes until the sauce is bubbling
  7. Add the tomato soup and simmer for a couple of minutes
  8. Stir in the single cream and add the basil leaves.
  9. Pour the mixture over the pasta in the oven proof dish
  10. Sprinkled the grated cheese over the top and bake for 15 minutes or so, until the cheese melts.
This is definitely a recipe I'll repeat. I was really surprised about how easy it was to make and how delicious it was. I reckon the tinned tomato soup was the secret to the success of this dish. I doubt I'll be buying the shop bought sauce again.

What have you made recently?

Comments

  1. When you make your own pasta sauces you can also insert hidden veggies. A grated carrot, some finely chopped red and yellow pepper etc. I also oven roast peppers, tomatoes, onion, garlic and courgettes with a few herbs, then blend and freeze to use in any tomato sauce based dish for some added flavour and a veg boost.

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  2. Unfortunately, this is the reason I have a son who doesn't like sauce with pasta. As soon as he discovered it contained hidden veg, he decided he didn't like it! Hopefully, pretending my home-made sauces are from jars might help me reinstate the hidden veg!

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