I always find that as it gets colder, I rely more and more on comfort food to get me through the day. I walk through central London with my coat collar turned up and a scarf around my neck and I think bloody hell, I wanna rub cheesy pasta-ey goodness all over my goddamn face. I don’t think I’m alone in this. Nothing warms the hands up faster than wrapping them round a hefty bowl of carbs.
I don’t think pasta bake has to be relegated to an occasional food thing- as long as what goes into it is full of nutrients, you can justify it as a relatively well-balanced meal most of the time. Whole wheat pasta, home-made sauce and lots of veg takes pasta bake away from being a sad student staple to a pretty decent meal.
1 Medium White Onion
1 Can tinned tomatoes (400g)
100ml Unsweetened Wholebean Soya Milk
50g Tomato Puree
10g Nutritional Yeast
2 Linda McCartney Vegetarian Sausages (They’re vegan too, don’t worry)
120g Whole Wheat Pasta (I use Fusilli but go for whatever wild type of pasta you fancy)
100g Violife Mozzarella (I used the version for pizzas)
2tsp Garlic Powder
6 Sprays Oil (standard 2 calories per spray can, i used olive oil)
1. Preheat your oven to 230°C. Take out your frozen sausages and leave them out on the counter to defrost slightly. Put your tinned tomatoes, soya milk, tomato puree, nutritional yeast, sage, basil, salt and garlic powder in a mixing bowl. Using a hand blender, blend these ingredients into a sauce (I went smooth with mine but by all means leave it a bit chunky if that’s how you like your tomato). Add about 50mls of water to your sauce just to thin it out and give the pasta enough water to cook in.
2. Pour your pasta out into a baking dish and pour your sauce on top of the pasta. Mix well. Once the oven is up to 230°C, put your dish in the oven and give it 16 minutes.
3. While your pasta is in the oven, chop your onion, put a frying pan over a medium heat, spray the pan with your oil, and fry your onion until golden-brown. Once fried, set aside.
4. Cut your partially-defrosted sausages into slices. Once the 16 minutes has passed, remove your pasta from the oven and mix in your sausage slices and fried onion. Give the pasta bake another 8 minutes in the oven.
5. In the meantime, slice your cheese thinly. After the 8 minutes, mix your pasta bake again and lay your cheese over the top, and give it about 6-10 more minutes in the oven, depending on how melted you want your cheese/thick you want your sauce. This dish serves 3, so you can comfort eat with a significant other and have leftovers (or two significant others, I can dig that.)