How much does it cost? This cost me less than 75p per person.
What are the benefits? This recipe includes at least two of your five a day, is an excellent source of fibre and is totally vegetarian friendly.
Okay, so if you’re seriously watching what you eat, a big dish of pasta loaded with cheese might not be your first choice. I get that. But with #ThisGirlEats, it’s all about making conscious decisions to choose healthier options without completely boycotting the things I love – like oodles of pasta and cheese!
There are plenty of reasons that you shouldn’t write this dish off right away. It’s made with a fresh, light tomato sauce instead of a heavy cream, and replaces meat with loads of vegetables instead. Top that off by wholewheat pasta and low fat cheese and this recipe is already a more nutritious choice.
It’s a hearty, filling recipe, but cheap to make. It’s versatile, too, made up of mostly store cupboard ingredients and all the vegetables I’ve used can be swapped for something else if you prefer.
140g Wholewheat Pasta
1 Carton of Passata
2 Medium Onions, Diced
1 Bell Pepper, Diced
5 Mushrooms, Diced
5 Cherry Tomatoes, Halved
3 Tbsp of Sweetcorn (Fresh or Frozen)
1/2 Cup of Grated Low Fat Cheddar Cheese
1/2 Cup of Grated Low Fat Mozzarella Cheese
We want this to be as packed with flavour as possible, so make sure everything about this dish is seasoned well. Salt the water for the pasta, for a start. Follow that by adding some dried garlic whilst frying off the vegetables and, once the passata is in the pan, throw in some salt, pepper, garlic flakes, dried basil, dried oregano and a pinch of chilli flakes if you fancy a kick. And, finally, before you pop your pasta bake into the oven, sprinkle a generous touch of dried oregano on top.
So, this is how I did it…
1. Stick the pasta in a pot of boiling water and cook according to packet instructions – let’s say 10-15 minutes, ish.
2. Fry the onion and peppers for a minute or two on a pretty high heat before adding the mushroom, cherry tomatoes and sweetcorn, along with some garlic and tomato purée, for a total of 5 minutes or so. You want the vegetables to soften, but still have some texture. No-one wants a bowl of mush!
3. Pour the passata into the pan, throw in your seasoning and cook through for another 5 minutes or so on a medium heat.
4. Drain the pasta and stir into the sauce. Layer the combo in an ovenproof dish and top each layer with cheese – one layer of pasta, top with cheese, one layer of pasta, top with cheese, etc. Finish with hefty sprinkle of oregano.
5. Cook in oven on around 200°C for another 5 minutes.
6. Remove from the oven, and sprinkle over the dried oregano (and a tiny dash of parmesan if you wish, but note that this probably isn’t suitable for vegetarians) on top to finish it off.