Cheesy sausage and pasta bake – a true family favourite that is easy, quick and delicious.
Ahhh half term. The time my kids most look forward to and I mostly dread. Not because I don’t love to spend time with them, far from it. But having these school breaks every six or so weeks is truly challenging for working parents, even if the working is done at home. Keeping the kids entertained and fed is a full time job in itself – how can they eat so much? It’s ‘mummy I’m hungry’ even after they have devoured a full meal.
Well perhaps not EVERY meal. I think even my kids would stay quiet after putting this cheesy sausage and pasta bake in their bellies! It is a very hearty recipe, utterly delicious and full of the melty cheese that makes it so satisfying to serve. I frequently add spinach, kale or broccoli to it if I am trying to add some extra greens – it is pretty adaptable to any extras. And you can also make with chicken instead of the sausages – especially leftover roast chicken to speed things up.
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
- 100g | 3½oz celery, roughly chopped
- ½ tbsp sugar (optional)
- ½ tsp celery salt
- ½ tsp garlic granules
- dash Worcestershire sauce
- rind of Parmesan cheese (optional)
- 1x400g | 14oz can chopped tomatoes in their juice
- 80g | 3oz roasted peppers (from a jar) finely diced
- 240ml | 1 cup water (or half water half white wine)
- 6 good quality pork sausages
- 300g | 10½oz tortiglioni (zitti) pasta, cooked till al dente
- 150g | 5½ oz mozzarella pearls
- 3 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
- a little butter to grease the dish
- ½ tbsp fresh thyme to garnish
- salt and freshly ground pepper to season
- Preheat the oven to 180C (350F) and grease a deep 25cm (10in) ovenproof ceramic dish with a little butter.
- Put the onion, garlic and celery in a mini chopper and pulse until finely diced (alternatively chop everything by hand).
- Heat the olive in a large pot and pan fry the sausaged until nicely coloured on all sides. Set aside until cool enough to handle then cut into bite-sized pieces.
- Tip in the chopped vegetables and pan fry over medium-low heat for 5 minutes, stirring.
- Add the sugar, celery salt, garlic granules, Worcestershire sauce and stir together.
- Pulse the chopped tomatoes in the mini chopper and add to the pot together with the water, chopped roasted peppers and the rind from Parmesan cheese (this will add a lot of flavour).
- Add the chopped sausages, stir and bring to a rolling simmer. Cook for 20 minutes or until the sauce is a little reduced. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Remove the cheese rind.
- Tip the pasta and 2 tablespoons of the grated Parmesan into the sauce and stir to combine.
- Transfer to the ovenproof dish and either stir in the mozzarella pearls (mini mozzarella balls) or dot them over the top.
- Bake for 10 mins or until the cheese is melting.
- Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan and garnish with fresh thyme leaves.
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