Sunday, March 18, 2012

Beefy Cheesy Pasta Bake with Pancetta and Red Wine

Sometimes all we need in life is a little comfort food, and when it comes to comfort food I am pretty sure we all agree pasta and cheese sit very proudly at the top of the list!
Pasta bake really doesn’t need much in the way of introduction, it is a cheesy, carby, deliciously comfy meal perfectly suited for those cooler winter days when cuddles and snuggles are all that is on your mind. Leftovers are easily stored away in the freezer to bring out on cold, rainy afternoons.

If you don’t have any Pancetta, you can easily replace it with bacon and cook using the same process.
The pasta must be slightly undercooked for this recipe during the boiling stage as it will continue to cook once in the oven.

What Will I Need?

500g Beef Mince
150g Pancetta, diced
1 Onion, diced
2 Cloves Garlic, minced
400g Tinned Tomatoes, crushed
1 Bay Leaf
½ tsp Thyme
1 cup Beef Stock
½ cup Red Wine
3 cup Spiral Pasta, uncooked
1 cup Tasty Cheese, grated
½ cup Parmesan, grated

What Now?

1.         Preheat your oven to 180C and lightly grease a lasagne dish.

2.        The Sauce: Cook the pancetta in a large pot over a medium heat for about 10 minutes or until the fat has rendered (is soft) and the pancetta has deepened in colour.

3.         Next, add the onion and garlic, and cook for an additional five minutes, until the onion has started to soften.

4.         Add the mince to the saucepan and mix until combined. Cook for 5 minutes and by now the mince has started to brown.

5.         Add bay leaf, thyme, stock and red wine to the mince and mix well before bringing it to the boil over a high heat. Once boiling, reduce heat to low and pop on a lid.

6.         Simmer for half an hour covered, before removing the lid and continuing to simmer for another 15 minutes or until the sauce has thickened.

7.         The Pasta: Cook the pasta in well salted water, according to packet instructions minus two minutes (the pasta should still be firm). Strain.

8.         Add the pasta to the mince and combine well before decanting  into your prepared lasagne dish. Spread the pasta and mince evenly though the dish and sprinkle with both cheeses.

9.         Bake for 15 minutes at 180C or until the cheese has turned golden. Allow it to rest for 10 minutes before serving.