This Bolognese pasta bake makes a cheap and delicious family meal – and it’s also a handy recipe for unexpected guests.
- 1tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- 700g (1lb 9oz) minced beef
- 2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes
- 2tsp dried Italian herbs
- 2tbsp sun-dried tomato purée
- 300g (10oz) penne pasta
- 25g (1oz) butter
- 25g (1oz) flour
- 450ml (¾ pint) milk
- 100g (4oz) Cheddar cheese, grated
- 2tbsp finely grated Parmesan cheese
- Basil leaves, to garnish
Heat the oil in a deep frying pan and fry onion and garlic for 8-10 mins until softened. Add mince and brown over a high heat. Stir in the tomatoes, herbs and purée. Season well. Simmer for 30 mins, stirring occasionally.
Cook the pasta in a pan of lightly salted boiling water according to instructions, until just tender. Drain and rinse under cold water.
Heat butter in a large pan until melted then stir in the flour and cook for 1 min. Whisk in milk then bring to the boil, whisking all the time until the sauce has thickened. Simmer gently for 2 mins. Stir in half the Cheddar and season to taste. Stir in the pasta.
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F, gas mark 6). Spread meat sauce in a deep gratin dish. Top with the pasta and sauce. Sprinkle over rest of the Cheddar and Parmesan cheese. Bake for 25-30 mins until bubbling and golden.
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The bake can be doubled easily and freezes well too.