Mrs. Jackson Cooks

Life through food

Fridge use-up pasta bake

on January 4, 2011

Well the servers are down at work, on the first day back (excellent start to the new year), so I thought I’d take the opportunity to blog about our last meal in Scotland.  Well part of it anyway.  I must apologise for the ridiculously long combined posts – but we had limited internet so I made the most of what we had!  But I am now returning to normal and doing one (or maybe two) recipes per post again.

Anyway, as it typical of final meals anywhere – we had leftovers.  Whatever that was left in the fridge and cupboards we pretty much ate – except for chickpeas and apricots.  Just couldn’t fit them in anywhere sensible.  But we were determined not to go home with loads of food.  We had fridge-use up pasta bake with spicy wedges and salad, followed by chocolate panetone bread and butter pudding with brandy and orange cream.  Which will be my next post, and to be honest, was delicious and probably the best thing that could be done with the panetone.

Anyway, back to the pasta bake.  We put in chipolata sausages, broccoli, carrots, onions, peppers, tomatoes, cream, cheese and breadcrumbs.  And it was lovely.  I think we also threw in some garlic and chilli too, oh and the remains of the fresh sage.  And the left over cooked vege from the venison roast. And pasta, of course!

But really, you can take the principle and make your own use-up pasta bake with whatever is in the fridge.  You can make a creamy sauce with cream and cheese, or creme fraiche, or cream cheese.  A tomatoey sauce with fresh or canned tomatoes, or passata, or tomato paste mixed with stock.  Or if you’re really stuck, make a lemony sauce with olive oil, cheese (preferably a hard one like parmesan), lemon juice and lemon zest.    Or any combination of these.  And if there’s not enough sauce just make some stock with a stock cube, or with marmite if you’re really stuck!

And the rest is just veges and whatever meat you’ve got left over.  I could have made this with the ham instead (except I’d already put that in some fried rice I made the day before – another excellent use up option!).  Or leftover chicken, or turkey or whatever really.  And if there’s no meat, then just leave it out and have it with veges instead.  You might add nuts too – walnuts, chestnuts, cashews, hazlenuts…whatever you’ve got lying around from Christmas.

I’ll also do another blog on the wedges as they are just fab and so simple to make.

Sausage and brocolli creamy pasta bake

Serves 6ish

12 small chipolata sausages (or 6 normal sized ones, you can use any type of sausage)

450g pasta shapes (we used 500g because that was what was in the packet)

1 tbsp oil (we used olive)

2 medium onions

2 garlic cloves, crushed

2 tsp chilli flakes (can be left out if you want)

2 carrots, diced – (this vege can be replaced with whatever you’ve got – celery, spinach, greens, corgettes, etc)

2 peppers, chopped smallish

a head of brocolli, cut into florets

pre-cooked vege leftovers

1 tin of tomatoes

2 fresh tomatoes, chopped

200ml (ish) double cream

handful of chopped fresh herbs (sage, parsley, thyme, or whatever you have, or use dried)

salt and pepper

100g (ish) cheddar cheese, grated (or any other similar cheese – lancashire, cheshire, devonshire, stilton, wensleydale – any leftover christmas cheese will do)

50g (ish) breadcrumbs (can be left out if you don’t have – but it makes the topping crunchy)

  1. Put the grill on high and grill the sausages until cooked and browned on all sides.  Don’t forget to prick them or they’ll explode and make a mess of the grill.
  2. Pre-heat the oven to about 180 degrees celsius.
  3. Put the pasta in a saucepan and boil according to the packet instructions.  When it’s cooked, remove from the heat, drain and set aside.  You may want to drizzle with oil to prevent it from sticking.
  4. Heat a large frying pan on a medium heat.  Fry the onion in the oil until softened but not browned.  Then add the garlic and chilli (if using) and fry for a further minute.
  5. Then add the veges and fry these until they soften, for about 5 minutes.  Whilst this is doing, chop up the cooked sausages into 1inch pieces.
  6. Next add in the canned tomatoes and the fresh ones, breaking any large ones down with the spatula or spoon.  When they get nice and jammy, add the cream and stir well to mix.  If there doessn’t seem to be enough sauce add more cream or add some stock, or some wine or stock – or whatever you have!
  7. Finally add the herbs and stir well again, to mix.
  8. Take a casserole dish or baking dish and put the cooked pasta in it.  Add the vegetable sauce and the sausages and mix well with the pasta to combine.
  9. Sprinkle the grated cheese and the breadcrumbs (if using) over the top and pop in the oven for about 25-30 minutes or until its hot through and the cheese is melted and golden.
  10. Serve with salad and wedges (if you like!) and eat with immense satisfaction in being thrifty and finding a use for everything.
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