Spinach pasta bake
Skill level: Easy peasy
Costs: Cheap as chips
Our mummy blogger Anneliese says: "This spinach pasta bake is a great way of encouraging children to tuck into their greens. Spinach can be love or hate with little ones and adults alike but when added to this pasta bake, no one will be able to resist! Another advantage of this bake is that it is so quick and easy to throw together; a perfect meal to make at the end of a busy day. Choose a good quality pasta sauce if you are battling the clock or make your own. Either way, it will count as one of your 5-a-day!"
- 1 jar good quality pasta sauce OR, to make your own:
- 1 tbsp of olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 2x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
- 1 tbsp tomato purée
- 300-350g dried pasta
- 250g frozen chopped spinach, defrosted
- 500g half fat crème fraiche
- 50g grated cheddar cheese
Make this recipe your own by adding in extra vegetables to the sauce, such as: courgettes, peppers, mushrooms and tick off more portions of your 5-a-day. You could also use lasagne sheets and make into a lasagne.
- Preheat oven to 200C/gas 6. Cook your pasta in a saucepan full of boiling water, following packet instructions.
- If making your own pasta sauce, add the oil to a frying pan and fry the diced onion gently until soft (if you wish to add other chopped vegetables, now would be the time to add them).
- Pour the tins of chopped tomatoes and tomato purée into the frying pan and simmer over a low heat for 15-20 minutes, until thickened and pulpy. Tip the tomato sauce into a deep ovenproof dish; be sure it covers the bottom of the dish evenly.
- If using a jar of pasta sauce, simply pour into a deep ovenproof dish and spread the sauce over the base of the dish.
- If you have forgotten to defrost your spinach (as I often do), don't panic. Place the spinach into a bowl and defrost in the microwave. Pick up the defrosted spinach and squeeze out the excess water with your hands, then place the spinach into a bowl.
- Add just under half the crème fraiche to the spinach and mix to combine.
- Place half the cooked pasta over the tomato sauce, then spread over the creamy spinach mixture. Tip the remainder of the pasta over the top, and then spread the remaining crème fraiche over the top. Sprinkle with grated cheese. Cook in the oven until golden, about 30 minutes.
5-a-day count: 2 (for 2 adults and 2 children under 10 years old)