“Pasta bakes are a low cost family staple. They take a little bit of work to put together but can be made in advance and one large bake can easily feed a family for a couple of days, saving time on busy weeknights. This one is a new favourite in our house. The fennel seed and balsamic add real Italian character, but not so much that our daughter turns her nose up at it.”
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 35 minutes
400g 12% fat beef mince
1 large onion
2 sticks celery
1 large carrot
1 tsp fennel seed
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
250ml beef stock
25ml extra virgin olive oil
2 400g tins of good quality chopped tomatoes
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
100g panko breadcrumbs
Dice the onions, carrots and celery and put them to one side.
Put the mince into a bowl and season with sea salt and black pepper. Put 1 tbsp of rapeseed oil in a frying pan over a high heat and add the fennel seeds. Fry for one minute before adding the mince. Cook the mince until it begins to brown. Put the mince into a bowl, leaving the oil behind in the pan, and set to one side.
Turn hob down to a medium-high heat and fry the onions, celery and carrots in the pan for 5 minutes until they begin to soften. Next, add the garlic and pinch salt cook for another 2 minutes.
Add beef the beef back to the pan and stir into the vegetables. Allow to warm through for a couple of minutes before adding the tomatoes, beef stock, vinegar and olive oil.
Cook for 30 minutes on low heat until the liquid has reduced by around half.
At this point, preheat the oven to 220C/200C fan.
In another pan, cook the pasta until al dente. When cooked, combine the pasta and sauce and pour into a large ovenproof dish.
Top with the breadcrumbs and Parmesan and drizzle with a little olive oil.
Bake for 20 mins until the crust has turned crispy and golden brown.
Serve with salad and garlic bread (we recommend our Ultimate Cheesy Garlic Bread!).