This blog is written in correlation with my PhD project 'The Technical Recipe: A Formal Analysis of 19th Century Food Writing.'
As a lover of food and literature, particularly when combined, I will discuss recipes and writing from the nineteenth century. Join me as I muddle through the best - and worst - of Victorian food writing.
Easy Peasy Pasta Bake
First off let me (not) apologise for this being the first recipe I've posted that hasn't been made completely from scratch.
It's nearing the end of the month and everyone getting student finance is starting to feel the pinch, me included. So, in terms of dinner, I would rather use the rations in the cupboard and spend a few quid on fresh fruit and veg than live off of knock-off super noodles for the next week..
The fact that tonights meal cost probably under two quid also makes the fact that I splashed out on this today (sorry mum) a teensie wee tiny bit better.
Look at it. Ahhhhhhhh. I am so excited. AND it's totally and completely justifiable by the fact that it is waterproof and err.. shiny. Plus, I handed in my last first year uni assignment today (scary) so I deserve a treat.. going to stop now, but at least you all know I have my priorities in order.
So this recipe is even easier than normal, but with a few simple and cheap updates it can be and was really really tasty.
The sauce I used was a cheap tomato and bacon pasta bake sauce, from Aldi (I think). To which I added;
One chopped pepper
Half of a chopped (large) onion
A few handfuls of grated cheddar
Three rashers of bacon
Two slices of bread, grated into breadcrumbs
A tablespoon of olive oil
1. The first thing you want to do is grill your bacon. Put it on a wire rack in a baking tray under the grill and turn after about seven mins. Cook it to your preference. Personally, I like mine nearly cremated so I cook it until crispy and then crumble it to make a crispy bacon topping. If you like it less well done, you can mix it through before you bake the dish and if you are veggie or just don't like bacon, mushrooms or tuna would work just as well. The beauty of a dish like this is that you can pretty much chuck in anything you fancy, or have kicking about.
2. Soften the onion and pepper in the oil until the onion has gone ever so slightly translucent. They will cook more during the baking, so you don't want them browning.
3. While your doing this, boil your pasta. You can make more than you and whoever you are eating with will eat tonight and have it the next day for lunch. It won't even need reheated.
4. When the pasta is cooked, and your bacon is done, pour the pasta into a large baking dish. Mix the peppers and onions through and then the jar of sauce and a few handfuls of cheese. Once it's mixed well, you can cover it in more cheese, then your crispy bacon and breadcrumbs. A good alternative to breadcrumbs if you're feeling really lazy are ready salted crisps, my mum puts them on her pasta bakes all the time and it's delicious.
5. Finally, put it in your oven at about 150-200 centigrade for a fan oven. It will take about ten, fifteen minutes to bake through, or just wait until the cheese on top is melted and golden and it's bubbling and piping hot.
Done! Told you it was easy. Granted, I used a pre-prepared sauce but hey, I'm willing to bet that even Nigella whips one out now and again on a lazy day. If you want to make your own sauce it's easy enough and I will probably post a recipe in the future, but this meal is perfectly tasty, filling and most importantly, cheap.
Now, lets all just take one last look at how glorious this is before I go..