Pizza Pasta

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Pasta is my “what would you eat if you could only eat one food for the rest of your life?” food.

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And this pizza pasta? I could eat this all. day. long.

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It’s been just over a year since I posted my last savoury meal recipe, so I figured it was high time to rectify that (see last year’s Skinny Turkey Meatballs). We are a family of pasta lovers, and huge fans of pretty much any Italian food, so it was only a matter of time before we combined Italy’s two most famous exports into one meal!

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This pizza pasta is a hot pasta bake designed to fill its consumer with comfort, love and unadulterated joy. Soft pasta shapes coated in sweet tomato and basil sauce and topped with oozing melted mozzarella cheese.  If you love margherita pizza and, like me, you can inhale pasta so quickly you barely notice you’ve eaten it, then this dish is definitely for you. You can plonk this dish down on the dinner table any day, any season and it will bring a comforted smile, even kids are likely to enjoy this heart-warming meal!

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The best part is that this dish is great for beginner cooks on any budget, and you can have it on the dinner table in just 40 minutes, making it an ideal dinner.

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You’ll need to start by dicing an onion into small pieces. Dicing is easy, just peel the onion, chop it in half, slice it lengthways towards the root, and then in opposite rows across the way to make little cubes.

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Cook the onion over a low-medium heat for at least 5 minutes until softened but not browned.

Mince the garlic and cook with the onions for a further minute. Mincing can be done by anchoring the knife’s point on the chopping board, moving the handle and the blade up and down rapidly while moving the knife across the garlic cloves until you have tiny little chunks of garlic. People sometimes call this “cross-chopping.”

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At this stage you can chop up and add any extra vegetables you’d like to use, I chopped up some courgettes and spinach and cooked them with the onions for an extra 5 minutes.

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Add some tomato pasta or some tinned or fresh chopped tomatoes, some dried basil and oregano, a dribble of Worcestershire sauce and a pinch of sugar to the pan.

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Simmer the sauce for 10-15 minutes while you cook your pasta. Cook the pasta for 2 minutes less than the packet recommends, as you are going to bake it, it will continue to cook in the oven so you don’t want it to overcook! I used classic macaroni and cooked it for just 8 minutes.

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At this stage, preheat your oven – 220 degrees for conventional ovens or 200 degrees for fan ovens.

Once your pasta is cooked and the sauce has had time to simmer, you can blitz the sauce to make it smooth or just leave it as it is.
Stir the pasta into the sauce and pour the pasta into a baking dish (I used a 31x21x6cm IKEA serving dish).

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Tear or slice up a ball of mozzarella and scatter the pieces all over the pasta, along with some fresh basil leaves (if using).

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Bake the pasta in your preheated oven for 20-25 minutes until the mozzarella has melted and the sauce is bubbling, feel free to cook it for a shorter or longer time depending on how you like your mozzarella. We like ours just melted rather than crispy, so 20 minutes is perfect for us!

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Once baked, spoon the steaming pasta into bowls and top with more fresh basil and a sprinkle of grated parmesan if you like.

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Now set a bowl of this pizza pasta down in front of a friend, roommate or loved one and watch a smile stretch across their face.

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Get a forkful of tomato-slathered pasta and stringy mozzarella and stuff your pretty little faces!

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Pizza Pasta

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 3-4 servings

Pizza Pasta

Pizza pasta, a quick and easy bubbling baked pasta dish with sweet, healthy tomato and basil sauce and an oozy melted mozzarella topping!

Ingredients

  • 1 onion
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • Any vegetables you like (optional, I used courgette and chopped spinach)
  • 500g tomato passata or a tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp each of dried basil and dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • Macaroni, penne or fusilli pasta
  • 1 ball mozzarella cheese (I used 150g)
  • Fresh basil (optional)

Instructions

  1. Dice your onion and cook over a low-medium heat for at least 5 minutes until softened but not browned.
  2. Mince the garlic and add it to the pan, cooking for a further minute.
  3. At this stage you can chop up and add any extra vegetables you'd like to use, I chopped up some courgettes and spinach and cooked them for an extra 5 minutes.
  4. Add the tomatoes, herbs, Worcestershire sauce and sugar to the pan.
  5. Simmer the sauce for 10-15 minutes while you cook your pasta. Cook the pasta for 2 minutes less than the packet recommends, as you are going to bake it, it will continue to cook in the oven so you don't want it to overcook!
  6. At this stage, preheat your oven - 220 degrees for conventional ovens or 200 degrees for fan ovens.
  7. Once your pasta is cooked and the sauce has had time to simmer, you can blitz the sauce to make it smooth or just leave it as it is.
  8. Stir the pasta into the sauce and pour the pasta into a baking dish (I used a 31x21x6cm IKEA serving dish).
  9. Tear or slice up your ball of mozzarella and scatter the pieces all over the pasta, along with some fresh basil leaves (if using).
  10. Bake the pasta in your preheated oven for 20-25 minutes until the mozzarella has melted and the sauce is bubbling, feel free to cook it for a shorter or longer time depending on how you like your mozzarella!
  11. Once baked, spoon into bowls and top with more fresh basil and a sprinkle of grated parmesan if you like.
  12. Enjoy!

We usually enjoy this as a meat-free meal, but feel free to add sausage, pepperoni, chicken, different cheeses or any of your other favourite pizza toppings!

http://maverickbaking.com/pizza-pasta/

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