Sausage and ricotta pasta bake

Preparation time
less than 30 mins
Cooking time
10 to 30 mins
Serves 4
Looking for wholesome student food? This hearty pasta bake is easy on the wallet and is great for feeding a hungry family too.

By Simon Rimmer
From Something for the Weekend
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2 tsp vegetable oil
2 red onions, peeled, sliced
1 red chilli, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, sliced
200g/7oz good-quality herb sausages, grilled until completely cooked through, cooled, thickly sliced
350g/12oz penne, cooked according to packet instructions, drained
200g/7oz ricotta
2 ripe tomatoes, finely chopped
100g/3½oz parmesan shavings, plus extra to serve
To serve
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 ready-made garlic baguette, sliced
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
Heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onions, chilli and garlic and fry for 3-4 minutes, or until softened.
Add the cooked, sliced sausages, cooked pasta, ricotta and chopped tomatoes and stir well to combine.
Transfer the mixture to an ovenproof dish and sprinkle over the parmesan shavings. Bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and is golden-brown.
To serve, divide the baked penne among four serving plates. Sprinkle over the remaining parmesan shavings and the chopped parsley. Place 1-2 slices of garlic bread alongside each serving

Tuna and broccoli pasta bake

Preparation time
less than 30 mins
Cooking time
10 to 30 mins
Serves 4
Raid your store cupboard to make this family favourite. It also saves time and money by finishing the pasta bake under the grill rather than preheating an oven.

By Justine Pattison
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200g/7oz dried short pasta shapes, such as fusilli or penne
250g/9oz small frozen broccoli florets
40g/1½oz butter
40g/1½oz plain flour
600ml/20fl oz semi-skimmed milk
75g/2½oz mature cheddar
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 x 185g tin tuna chunks in water or brine, drained
2 firm, ripe tomatoes, sliced (optional)
Recipe tips How-to-videos
Half-fill a large saucepan with water and bring it to the boil. Add the pasta, return the water to the boil and cook according to the packet instructions until just tender. Just before the end of the cooking time, add the frozen broccoli florets to the pan and cook with the pasta for the final 2-3 minutes, until just tender.
Meanwhile, heat the butter, flour and milk in a saucepan over a medium heat until the mixture is just bubbling, whisking constantly with a balloon whisk until smooth and thickened to a roux.
Continue to cook the roux for a further 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly until it has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon. Stir in half of the cheese until melted, then season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Preheat the grill to its highest setting.
Drain the pasta and broccoli in a large colander and transfer to a pre-warmed shallow ovenproof dish (a lasagne dish is ideal). Flake the tuna on top of the pasta and broccoli.
Pour the cheese sauce over the pasta mixture, then top with the sliced tomatoes, if using. Sprinkle over the remaining cheese.
Place the pasta bake under the hot grill for 4-5 minutes, or until the cheese melts and starts to turn golden-brown. Serve immediately.
Recipe Tips
Tip 1: This dish is not suitable for freezing.
Tip 2: Warm the lasagne dish by half-filling it with just-boiled water and letting it stand for 5 minutes – it will help to keep the food keep warm as the crust grills.
Tip 3: Making the cheese sauce using an all-in-one method makes it quicker and more foolproof – but make sure you whisk it constantly to avoid lumps. A silicone-coated whisk will not damage non-stick pans.
Tip 4: Cheese is suitable for freezing, so it pays to buy it when it is on offer and freeze in batches. Coarsely grated frozen cheese can be used straight from the freezer.
Tip 5: If preferred, substitute frozen broccoli with frozen sweetcorn.
Tip 6: This recipe can also be made ahead – just cook the pasta bake in a preheated oven at 220C/200C Fan/Gas 7 for 18-20 minutes until heated through.
Tip 7: This recipe also saves money on energy – heating the grill for a few minutes is more energy-efficient than preheating the oven.

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