Hi, is everyone fed up with the clouds? Yep, me too. I love Autumn, but endless days of rain, with no blue sky occasionally peeking through, well to be honest, it just makes me want to snuggle up with a good film and a big bowl of this Cheesy Vegetable Pasta Bake.
This dish came about because I was too lazy to get any meat out of the freezer!! True our freezer is in our garage, with no internal interconnecting door and it was raining. Convinced?? Anyway enough of my laziness, what resulted was an incredibly fabulous dish.
We are a meat eating family, although I do make a little meat go a long way. It is very rare however, that I deliberately leave meat or fish out of a dish. Big mistake!!! No one in our family, or my chief taste tester, missed the meat in this Cheesy Vegetable Pasta Bake. In fact they enjoyed a meat free meal.
I was so pleased. Firstly, I had created a great meal that everyone enjoyed – always my main aim. Secondly, I now have a great vegetarian dish in my repertoire.
Meat is usually the most expensive component in a meal, so, without compromising flavour, this is a fantastic, budget friendly dish. Perfect for a mid week meal. In fact why not double up on the ingredients and make this for a new mum, family or friends returning from holiday, or simply to freeze for up to 3 months. Being meat free more people can enjoy this dish.
Recipe : Cheesy Vegetable Pasta Bake Serves 6 people generously
1tbsp Olive Oil
1 x Leek
1 x Celery Stick finely diced
2 x Large Carrots finely diced
6-8 Mushrooms White Button or Chestnut sliced thinly
3 Cloves of Garlic – crushed
4 x 400g Cans Chopped Tomatoes
1/4tsp Freshly Grated Nutmeg
1tsp Dried Mixed Herbs
Salt and Pepper to taste
500g/1lb Dried Pasta – I used Penne
Cheese Sauce see Bacon Cheese Pasta Bake – Cheese Sauce
50g/2oz Finely Grated Cheese for topping
Note : If making this dish for vegetarians, ensure you use vegetarian cheese.
Cut the very dark green top and root from the leek. Slice the leek in half, lengthways and rinse thoroughly under a cold running tap. This ensures any sand or dirt trapped between the layers in the leek is washed away. Pat the leek dry with a clean cloth. Slice the leeks into 1/2 inch dice.
Pour the oil into a pan and heat up over a medium heat. Add the leeks to the pan.
Add the garlic and stir for 30 seconds. Then pour in the tinned tomatoes.
Add the nutmeg and dried herbs. Bring to a simmer and cook with a lid almost covering for 1 1/2 hours.
Whilst the vegetable sauce is cooking make the Cheese Sauce.
Once the vegetable sauce has cooked remove from the heat.
Cook your chosen pasta according to the package instructions, less 3 minutes. The pasta will continue to cook in the oven.
Drain the pasta and tip into the vegetable sauce. Mix the pasta and vegetable sauce together.
You can bake the pasta dish in a medium oven (180C/165C fan) straight away, for approx. 1hour, until golden and bubbling.
Or you can cover the Cheesy Vegetable Pasta Bake once cooled, in cling film and refridgerate for up to 3 days. If freezing, cool, wrap the entire dish in cling film and then aluminium foil.
You can certainly switch up the veggies to whatever you have on hand. In fact this dish is a great way to use up small amounts of vegetables sitting in the fridge, before your next grocery shop!
Perfect served just as it is, or you can stretch it further by serving with some crusty bread and salad. Either way this Cheesy Vegetable Pasta Bake is sure to become a favourite in your home.
Would you miss the meat in a pasta dish such as this?
You may also like these Tomato Thyme Garlic Focaccia Bread
delicious, easy, bread recipes to make alongside the Cheesy Vegetable Pasta Bake.