For whatever reason, I always used to make up pasta bakes as more a side dish, rather than the main event, and I never really knew where meat could/would figure in the dish. Recently, randomly, my predicament was resolved; I found a purpose for the "posh sausage"!
I have used both Lidl's Deluxe range sausages, which were really flavoursome and browned very nicely in the oven. I also tried Derry Clarke's Chive and Garlic sausages, which I found were very tasty, with a lovely, punchy flavour of garlic and chive. They also had a really robust texture and meatiness to them. Thumbs up!
I really enjoy this dinner and so does my other half, who is my main critic in the kitchen, and he's a tough one at that! The recipe serves approximately 4 people and I sometimes like to serve some fresh steamed green beans or sugarsnaps, or even a nice salad on the side. Yes, that's on the side alright. It's the pasta bake that takes centre stage!
- 6 "posh" sausages, snipped in half on the diagonal (you eat with your eyes and all that jazz...)
- 2 onions
- 200 g veg - e.g. cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, peppers, courgette - roughly chopped
- 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
- A good handful of grated Cheddar cheese
- 1 tsp sugar
- Dried herbs/Chilli flakes
- Salt and pepper
- 200 g pasta; penne works perfectly
- Olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C/400 degrees F/gas mark 6.
- Put the sausages, one and half onions, roughly chopped, and the vegetables* into an oven dish. Drizzle with about a tablespoon of olive oil and mix well through all the contents of the dish. Then, place the dish into the oven for 25 - 30 minutes to cook.*If using cherry tomatoes, which I would highly recommend, add these after about 15 minutes, as they cook far quicker than the other ingredients.
- Be sure to check the oven mixture and toss it around once or twice during the cooking time.
Sausages & veg a-cooking, tomatoes just added
- Meanwhile, into a small saucepan, add the tin of tomatoes, the half onion, peeled but not chopped up, a couple of cloves of garlic, peeled and minced, the sugar and the herbs or chilli flakes. Drizzle in a tablespoon or so of olive oil.
- Bring up to boiling point and cook at this level for about 4 - 5 minutes and then reduce the heat to low, which will allow the sauce to thicken, for 20 - 30 minutes. Season to taste and remove the onion.
- About 10 minutes before your sauce and your sausage and veg mix are ready, cook your pasta in a big saucepan of salted, boiling water. When cooked to an al dente texture, drain and reserve a cupful of pasta liquid.
- Now, simply, tip all your sauce and your cooked pasta in on top of the sausages and veg in the oven dish. Mix very well together and stir through some pasta liquid to help the sauce along, as you'll find the tomato sauce will have thickened quite a bit.
- Sprinkle, liberally, with grated Cheddar cheese and pop back into the oven for about 15 - 20 minutes, or until golden brown and pleading to be devoured!