In response to COVID 19 we are assembling weekly Food Activity Sheets, which are going out with family food parcels through the Rotary and Food Bank. This is a recipe from Week 3, a comforting family favourite super-easy super-tasty dish topped with a garlic and cheesy breadcrumb topping. The bake can be made with veggie or meat sausages (or even without sausages!) and lots of hidden extra veg. Added to this it’s really simple to put together and shouldn’t take much more than half an hour from start to finish.
A great way of using up veg from the freezer (frozen beans, peas, sweetcorn, spinach are all great), fridge (finely sliced peppers, courgette, onions, mushrooms) or tinned veg (sweetcorn, spinach or carrots). Aim at around 200 to 250 grams of veg. Try not to use fresh root veggies i.e carrots, as these take a longer time to cook and would make the dish a bit crunchy!.
Sausages can be veggie or pork, anywhere between 4 and 6 is plenty. As we’re mainly vegetarian these days we opt for veggie bangers, Linda McCartney’s are our fave and are often on offer at £1 a box at major supermarkets. You could make this dish just a ‘Pasta Bake’ without any sausages at all. If using meat sausage follow stage 2, no need for this with veggie sausages though.
Value range chopped tomatoes are around 25p a can, and are great to use in this. You could also substitute the two cans for a large jar of tomato passata (around 680g).
The breadcrumb topping makes the pasta bake taste extra-delish. Use up any stale bread you have, either tear or chop with a bread knife into small pieces. You can use any cheese you have too, Cheddar, Mozzarella, Feta, Goats Cheese all work.
Cooking Oil, Olive/Sunflower/Rapeseed
4-6 Sausages, or leave out for just a Pasta Bake
3 cloves Garlic
1 pinch Chilli Powder / Chilli Flakes, optional
2 x 400g tins Chopped Tomatoes
200g Mixed Tinned/Fresh/Frozen Veg (see notes above)
Salt and Pepper
250g Pasta, penne or fusilli twists or any
50g Stale Bread
1. Preheat the oven to 200 deg C / 400 deg F or Gas Mark 6.
2. If using meat sausages cut them each into 6 pieces and pop in an ovenproof dish (about 20cm x 20cm), drizzle with a little cooking oil and roll to coat. Place in the oven for around 10 minutes until cooked through. Leave out this stage if using veggie sausages.
3. Meanwhile cook the pasta sauce. Peel and finely slice two of the cloves of garlic and place in a saucepan with the chilli, if using, and about a tablespoon of the cooking oil. Cook for a minute or two until the garlic is a little coloured. Tip in the tomatoes and your chosen veg, and a large pinch each of salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. Cook the pasta following packet instructions, taking it off the heat 2 minutes early so it’s ‘al dente’ – Italian for ‘with bite’. Drain in a colander and set aside.
5. Make the breadcrumb topping. Tear or slice the stale bread into small pieces or cubes. Peel and finely slice the final clove of garlic. Grate or crumble the cheese. Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl with a pinch of salt and pepper and a drizzle of the cooking oil. Set aside.
6. To assemble the dish, add the pasta and pasta sauce to the oven dish (with the cooked meat sausages if using). If using veggie sausages cut them each into 6 pieces and add to the dish. Mix everything around until the sauce coats the pasta and sausages. Spread the breadcrumb topping over the top.
7. Place in the oven for 15 minutes, or until golden on top and bubbling.