Did everyone (in the UK) have a lovely four days off? I love bank holidays but the extra day was such a treat. Big up the Queen for the Bank Holiday Tuesday.

When’s her next anniversary?

Anyway after a lot of overindulging this weekend last night I needed comfort, carbs and some health so I made this pasta bake, a Jamie Oliver recipe I have tried a few times. It’s simple and so tasty and can’t be there bad for you with all those tomatoes.

I of course cheated a little so check the link for the original.

You need;
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
extra virgin olive oil
1 white onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely sliced
1 tablespoon dried chilli flakes (or more if you like)
3 tins of good-quality chopped plum tomatoes
a large handful of fresh basil leaves
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons of red wine
400g dried orecchiette (I used conchiglie which worked well)
4 big handfuls of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
3 balls of mozzarella

You start by making a basic tomato sauce, this will see you well with any pasta dish and is so delicious I think would be great with some spaghetti and nothing else.

Heat a good swig of extra virgin olive oil in a large saucepan then add the onion, garlic and chilli and slowly fry for about 10 minutes on a medium to low heat until softened.

Add the tins of tomatoes to the onion and garlic, with a small glass of water and the red wine (adds a nice richness) and bring to the boil and simmer for around 20 minutes then finally tear your basil leaves into the sauce season with salt, pepper and a little swig of red wine vinegar.

While doing this you could also cook your pasta according to its instructions, I always do mine a little less than it says, and cook with a little olive oil in the water (and salt of course) and pre-heat your oven to around 200c.

When your pasta is cooked, drain and toss with half of the tomato sauce and a handful of Parmesan. Get a baking dish and rub it with a little olive oil.

Now it’s time to layer up, start with a layer of the saucy pasta then more sauce then mozzarella then parmesan and then once again… that was as far as mine went. Save some parmesan for the top. Now bake for 15 minutes, until it’s all bubbly and golden and some of your pasta is going crisp. 

We ate this with a really simple green salad and red wine. I needed health but I also needed red wine.

And the best thing? I will be eating this for lunch today… minus the red wine.