Rigatoni pasta bake

Sometimes, you just want a simple family crowdpleaser that uses store cupboard ingredients and can be scaled to feed more hungry mouths just by tweaking the amount of pasta you use. This is that dish. I’ve used chorizo as the main protein component here as it adds so much flavour but you could just as easily use chopped bacon, a can of tuna or tuck in chunks of raw cod into the pasta at the same time as the mozzarella balls – just reduce the baking time in the oven if you use fish so that it doesn’t dry out.

pasta bake

Serves 4

  • 1x 400g can of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp light olive oil
  • 1 green pepper, cored and chopped into 1/2cm pieces
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 Spanish chorizo ring, casing removed and chopped into 2cm pieces
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 300g mezzi rigatoni pasta (I use Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference range)
  • 1x150g pack of mozzarella minis (I use Essential Waitrose)
  • 6 large sun dried tomatoes – halved
  • 1 tbsp grated Parmesan
  • 1 tbsp Panko breadcrumbs

To make…

  • Prepare the chopped pepper, onion and chorizo pieces.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large sauce pan over a medium heat. Add the chorizo pieces, cook for about 5 minutes and allow them to render their oil. Add the chopped onion and pepper and a generous pinch of salt. Stir thoroughly and cook for 8 minutes or so until softened and golden.
  • Cook the rigatoni in plenty of boiling salted water for 10minutes.
  • Add the paprika, canned and sun-dried tomatoes, chilli flakes, sherry and milk. Stir and cook through until the pasta is ready.
  • Lightly grease a medium sized baking dish and preheat the oven to 200C.
  • Use a slotted spoon to transfer the drained pasta into the sauce, add a couple of tablespoons of the pasta water and stir. This will thicken the sauce and make the texture feel silky. Taste the sauce and add a little more salt and black pepper if you feel it needs it.
  • Transfer the pasta into the baking dish and give it a little shake to make sure it’s even and fills the whole dish.
  • Drain the little mozzarella balls and tuck them evenly throughout the pasta – these will form lovely little gooey pockets of cheese in the final dish. Scatter over the breadcrumbs and the Parmesan.
  • Place the dish on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 25 minutes or until the dish is bubbling hot and a crisp savoury crust has formed.
  • Serve with a simple green salad .

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About Janet Davies @pigeoncottage

Food lover, author, cook!
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