January is always a lean month in our house! Partly as a means of tightening the purse-strings after the excesses of December; partly as a calorie control measure but mostly because after all the rich food during the run-up and over Christmas, I crave lighter meals.
This pasta bake, when I broke down the costs worked out at less than £2, for two of us!
As a general rule I find pasta bakes a bit of a faff to make; two pans on the hob and a further oven dish – that’s a lot of washing up! To make it worth doing I usually batch cook and make enough to have another two meals in the freezer.
As I had pasta leftover in the fridge from yesterday’s pasta bake, I just made enough for today (actually, I planned ahead and cooked twice as much pasta yesterday so that I could use it today!). It took less than 15 minutes to prepare, and then 20 in a hot oven. How convenient is that!
For two people I used :
3 thick rashers of bacon, cut into strips
1 x 450g tin of tomatoes
Salt and pepper to taste
Freshly grated parmesan cheese
Dry-fry the bacon in a small frying pan until it starts to brown, season with a little black pepper and stir around. Add the tinned tomatoes and stir, simmer for a minute or two.
At the same time, cook the pasta according to packet directions, drain, return to the pan and add the sauce and combine the two together.
Decant into an oven-proof dish and add a grating of parmesan cheese.
Bake at 200oC for 20 minutes, until the cheese and top pasta is browned.
This just needs a little bread to mop up the delicious tomato juices and a nice salad on the side.
Now I think about it, a handful of black olives would make a nice addition to this – I’ll try and remember that next time I make it! A handful of torn basil wouldn't go amiss either!
* You could cut down on the work, and washing up if you make it with cooked ham. In that case you’d only need to cook and drain the pasta, add the tinned chopped tomatoes and the ham, season, combine and tip into your oven dish. Even less work again if you have leftover pasta in the fridge. It’s worth bearing this in mind if you know you have a busy day coming up and still want something easy to come home to.