This is a VERY tasty and very comforting pasta bake using one of my favourite ingredients – lentils! Plus some delicious melted cheddar cheese on top – please note you can substitute the cheese for feta or an alternative if you prefer. Let’s cook!
Recipe (Serves 5-6)
Ingredients – for the Lentil Ragu (pre-bake)
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 garlic cloves, finely minced
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 tbsp tomato puree
- 1 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
- 2 x 250g packs of pre-cooked lentils (I used an Aldi brand but Merchant Gourmet do a nice pack too – you could use a tin of pre-cooked lentils either, you can get these in most supermarkets)
- 1 red onion, finely chopped
- 1 pack of button mushrooms (200g-ish), de-stemmed and sliced
- 1 bell pepper, core removed and de-seeded
- 1 courgette, stem removed
For the bake:
- 200g of wholewheat penne or fusili pasta
- 100g of cheddar cheese, grated
- Peel and then chop your garlic finely, and then the veggies (into bite size chunks), and set aside.
- Pre-heat the oven to 200C (non-fan oven).
- Next, set a large pot on a medium heat, and add the olive oil.
- Cook the red onion and garlic for 3-4 minutes in the oil, until softened.
- Add your spices and herbs, and cook for another few minutes so the onions are coated.
- Add the rest of your veggies and cook for another 4-5 minutes.
- Time to add the liquids – pour in the chopped tomatoes, water/stock, tomato puree and balsamic vinegar, and stir everything up together.
- Finally, add the lentils and season with sea salt and black pepper, stir and bring to the boil.
- Turn down the heat to the lowest setting, and cover.
- Cover the ragu again and simmer for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- While the ragu is simmering, put the water for your pasta on. Cook the pasta according to package instructions.
- Drain the pasta, turn off the heat on the ragu, and add the pasta to the ragu. Stir to combine.
- Add the pasta and ragu mix to a baking dish (can be square or rectangular, about an inch or so deep). Spread it out so it’s evenly distributed.
- Sprinkle the cheddar on top, and then pop the dish into the oven (when the oven is ready) for approximately 20 minutes until the cheese is fully melted.
- Remove from the oven and serve up the dish – you’re good to go!
- Serve as it is or you can freeze portions of this pasta bake – please ensure it is defrosted fully before consumption. It should store in the fridge for up to 4 days.
Enjoy guys! Tag me if you try this recipe out – @theirishbalance on Instagram/Twitter/Facebook.