Nothing beats a pasta bake for a delicious and filling mid-week supper. This one has a lovely rich garlic and tomato sauce and is topped with masses of melting mozzarella cheese. You can choose any shape of dried pasta for this dish we've used spirals but shells, twists or short-cut macaroni will work just as well. To prepare the bake in advance, leave the pasta and chicken and tomato sauce to cool in the dish (without the cheese topping). Cover and chill for up to 24 hrs. To bake from chilled, sprinkle with the cheese and cook at 200°C/400°F/Fan 180°C/Gas Mark 6 for 25-30 mins until piping hot.
2tbsp olive oil
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
400g skinless chicken breast fillet, cut into chunks
400g can chopped tomatoes
2tbsp sun-dried tomato paste
Pinch of sugar
2tbsp chopped fresh basil, plus leaves to garnish
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
400g dried pasta shapes
150g ready-grated mozzarella cheese
Sun-dried tomato paste has a more intense and earth flavour than ordinary tomato puree. You'll find it in tubes or jars near the canned tomatoes in the supermarket
Heat the oil in a large frying pan and fry the onion and garlic for 5 mins until just softened. Add the chicken and fry for a further 5 mins, until browned all over. Stir in the chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar and basil. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and simmer gently for 15 mins.
Meanwhile, boil the pasta shapes in a large pan of lightly salted water according to the packet instructions. Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/Fan 200°C/Gas Mark 7.
Drain the pasta shapes and stir in to the chicken and tomato sauce. Transfer to a shallow heatproof dish and sprinkle over the grated mozzarella. Bake for 15-20 mins until the cheese is golden and bubbling. Serve garnished with basil leaves and a sprinkling of ground black pepper.