3cloves of garlicput through a garlic press or finely grated
3mediumbell peppersPith and seeds removed and then cut into thin strips. I used a mixture of red, yellow and green.
270g(3 cups) of brown mushroomssliced thickly or cut into quarters if small
½tspmild chilli powder
1tspdried coriander leaf
1 x 400g(1 x 14.5oz) can of chopped (diced) tomatoes
2tbsptomato puree (paste)
160g(½ a heaped cup) of sour cream
¼tspground black pepper
80g(⅓ of a cup) of mature (sharp) cheddar cheesegrated
50g(¼ cup) of Edam cheesegrated
Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large sautè pan over medium.Add the sliced onions along with a pinch of sea salt and cook for about 10 minutes. Stir the onions often to avoid burning.Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions minus 2 or 3 minutes.
Add the garlic to the onions and cook for a minute. Next, add the peppers and mushrooms. Cook for a minute then add the spices and dried herbs. For the spice, you will need, 2 teaspoons of ground cumin, 1½ teaspoons of paprika, ½ a teaspoon of mild chilli powder. For the dried herbs, you will need, 1½ teaspoons of dried oregano and 1 teaspoon of dried coriander leaf.Stir until the vegetables are covered in spices and herbs. Pour in the chopped tomatoes and stir well. Add in 2 tablespoons of tomato puree, season with salt and pepper then leave to simmer for 10 minutes.
Drain the pasta then tip it into a large casserole dish. Add the vegetable mixture to the pasta. Next, add the sour cream and carefully mix everything together. Spread the grated cheese over the pasta and bake in the oven at 180°C (350F) Fan/ 200°C (390F) conventional oven for 20 - 30 minutes or until the sauce is bubbling at the edges and the cheese is golden. Leave to cool for 10 minutes before serving.
Undercook the pasta - when I make pasta bakes I always undercook the pasta slightly. The pasta will cook in the sauce in the oven so undercooking it will prevent the pasta from turning into limp mushy pasta. 2 to 3 minutes less than the packet says should do the trick.
Save some pasta water - if you find your sauce too thick add some of the pasta water to it to loosen it up a bit. This will also help the sauce stick to the pasta.
Let the pasta bake rest - leaving the pasta bake to cool off for 5 to 10 minutes will not only leave it to cool slightly, saving you from burning your mouth but will also give the sauce the chance to settle into the ridges and hollows of the pasta. If you go in too early the sauce will pool around at the bottom of the dish and the sauce will seem thin.
Add-ins - there is a lot you can do with this pasta bake, try adding in some canned sweetcorn, or roasted courgettes (zucchini). You could also stir some spinach through this too if you want.
Leftovers - if you do have any leftovers they can be stored in the fridge once cooled. I reheat this in the microwave.
Freezing - I haven't frozen this pasta bake but I'm sure it would freeze fine, I would probably freeze it before baking.
Nutritional Information - is approximate and is calculated using an online nutrition tool. It is based on one serving of 6.
Weights and measurements - For US readers, I use Cuisipro measuring cups and spoons, and a Pyrex measuring jug for liquids. These are the industry standard. Cup/spoon volumes can differ from brand to brand, for accuracy, I recommend weighing all ingredients if possible for best results.