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I readily admit that I am easily grossed out by canned food and try to avoid the canned stuff section of supermarkets, if I can help it. My medical mind keeps linking food tins with the myriad of bacteria lying dormant inside and the number of allergic reactions and food poisoning cases I see on a daily basis does not help. This pasta bake was largely a result of leftover corned mutton from mum’s lunch salad and I used the recipe from Fuss Free Flavours to convert this last bit of processed meat into something more edible by masking it with lots of sharp cheddar cheese and arrabiata sauce.

CORNED MUTTON PASTA BAKE

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 onion, peeled and chopped

2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

1 red pepper, deseeded and sliced

1/2 teaspoon dried chili

1 can chopped tomatoes

340g corned mutton, diced

250g pasta, any small shape

100g mature cheddar, grated

Method:

  • Pour the olive oil into a large frying pan, add the onion and garlic. Fry for a few minutes until golden.

  • Add the pepper, season with pepper and salt and fry until soft. Add the canned tomatoes and chilli.

  • Cook for 5 minutes. Once sauce has thickened, add corned mutton. Stir and cook for 2-3 minutes.

  • Simmer until you have a rich and thick corned mutton sauce. Bring a large pan of water to the boil.

  • Add pasta and cook for a few minutes less than the time on the packet instructions. Season lightly.

  • Drain the pasta, reserving some of the cooking water, return it to the cooking pan and stir in sauce.

  • Add a few spoons of the cooking water to loosen the mixture. Transfer to a shallow oven proof dish.

  • Sprinkle the cheese over and bake at 160C fan/Gas 4 for 15-20 minutes until golden and piping hot.

Corned Mutton Pasta Bake

Unless I’m making rougaille I usually prefer eating my tomatoes raw especially in salads or sandwiched between two slices of brown bread along with some other savory filling. But after I spied this ridiculously easy recipe while flipping through my BBC GoodFood Pasta & Noodles Book, I immediately reached out for a fresh punnet of cherry tomatoes and the last of my Panzani Rigatoni Special Sauce. For this quick dinner, I threw in a bit of leftover chicken and some torn basil leaves for extra flavor but you can also add broccoli, baby corn or carrots. The heat from that little sprinkling of smoked paprika combines wonderfully with the sweetness of cherry tomatoes in this hearty pasta dish.

CHERRY TOMATO PASTA

Ingredients:

450g cherry tomatoes

Pinch of golden caster sugar

1 brown onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 teaspoon dried oregano

5 tablespoons vegetable stock

350g short pasta shapes/penne

200g cooked chicken, shredded

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 tablespoon grated Parmesan

Salt and pepper, to taste

Method:

  • Put the tomatoes, sugar, onion, garlic, oregano and vegetable stock in a large saucepan.

  • Bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes over low heat. Season with salt and pepper.

  • Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pan of salted boiling water as per packet instructions.

  • Drain well and toss with a teaspoon olive oil. Add chicken and paprika to tomato sauce.

  • Pour over cooked pasta. Toss and garnish with oregano and Parmesan cheese. Serves 4.

Cherry Tomato Pasta

Pasta makes dinner so much simpler. Simply toss cooked pasta into any sauce of your choice, top with any combination of veggies or meat [leftovers work well here] and you have your evening meal under control within minutes. This holds true especially when you are too tired/lazy to cook yourself a proper meal and you’re also too tired/lazy to go out and buy food. Taken from BBC Good Food Everyday Pasta and Noodle Dishes, this cheat’s version of egg noodle pasta can be made as spicy as you like by adjusting the amount of chili to your taste or tolerance level.

SPICY PRAWN EGG NOODLE PASTA

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, roughly chopped

1 heaped tablespoon coriander purée

Pinch of crushed dried chilies, to taste

400g can chopped tomatoes with garlic

1 heaped tablespoon tomato purée

1 tablespoon vegetable bouillon powder

Half a 250g pack Chinese egg noodles

400g prawns, peeled and deveined

Method:

  • Heat the oil in a wok or deep frying pan. Toss in the onion, squeeze in the coriander purée.

  • Sprinkle over the crushed chilies to taste. Stir fry for 5 minutes until the onion is softened.

  • Pour in tomatoes and 1 1/2 cans water, add tomato purée and sprinkle over bouillon powder.

  • Season well. Bring to a bubble, stirring, then lower the heat a little and let the sauce simmer.

  • Cook for about 15 minutes until slightly reduced but still sloppy. Break noodles into a bowl.

  • Pour in enough boiling water to cover. Stir and set aside. When sauce is ready, drain noodles.

  • Tip them into the sauce with uncooked prawns. Stir well and heat through for 2 minutes only.

  • Taste for seasoning and add more chilli flakes and a little sugar if you like. Makes 2 servings.

Spicy Prawn Egg Noodle Pasta

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