Because I have been really busy recently, I have sort of neglected dinners and all and we had been eating whatever I could whip up pronto.
When I am short of time, I inevitably will turn to pastas, and more often than not, baked pasta. Baking pastas really work for me because I can do all my prep, make everything way in advance, like early in the morning, and all I need to do would be to chuck the casserole in the oven usually about 40 minutes before I want to serve dinner.
This is a quickie baked pasta because there is so little prep involved. The only prep that I had to do was to grate the carrot and dice the red peppers and an onion.
In a hot casserole, I added some olive oil. Into this, I added the diced onion. I cooked this for about 3-4 minutes, or until the onion became soft and translucent. Then I added minced garlic and sauteed that for about half a minute.
I added grated carrots and diced red pepper.
And continued cooking for about 2 to 3 minutes after which I transferred the contents of the Dutch oven into a bowl.
I added a little more oil in the Dutch oven. Once hot, I added the minced beef and cooked the beef until it turned brown,
The vegetables were transferred back into the Dutch oven. I added the chopped tomatoes, beef stock and water.
And some tomato paste, as well as a few bay leaves.
Then I added Spag Bog seasoning.
And salt and pepper.
I gave everything a quick stir, and turned the heat to low. The sauce was left to gently simmer for about 15 minutes.
In the mean time, I cooked the pasta.
I reserved some pasta water, and drained the pasta. Then the pasta was mixed with the sauce and transferred into a casserole. I added shredded cheddar and Parmesan cheeses, and baked the pasta until the top had turned golden brown.
The pasta was served immediately.
While it was still piping hot and bubbling!
- 500g pasta - I used shells, but any pasta will do
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
- 2 carrots, grated
- 1 red capsicum, seeds removed and diced
- 2 cans chopped tomatoes
- 1/2 cup beef (or chicken) stock
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2-3 bay leaves
- 1/4 cup spaghetti bolognese seasoning
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon coarsely grounded black pepper
- 1/2 cup Cheddar, grated
- 1/2 cup Parmesan, grated
- 1 tablespoon Italian parsley, chopped (optional)
- Sauté onion in olive oil until soft and slightly translucent, about 3 minutes. Add minced garlic and sauté for another 30 seconds.
- Add carrot and capsicum. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until vegetables have wilted. Transfer to a bowl.
- Add a little more olive oil to the casserole. Cook the minced beef until browned.
- Return vegetables back into casserole. Add chopped tomatoes, beef stock, water, tomato paste, bay leaves, spaghetti bolognese seasoning, salt and pepper.
- Stir to combine. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Cook pasta according to manufacturer's instructions, taking 3 minutes off the recommended cooking time.
- Reserve some pasta water, drain the pasta.
- Combine pasta with sauce. Transfer pasta and sauce into a casserole.
- Top with cheese. Bake at 180°C for 20-30 minutes, or until the top turns golden brown.
- Serve immediately.