Pasta bake is so simple to make, but always seems to go down well in my house. We love a traditional spag bol (well, our tradition, not so sure my Italian ancestors would agree!), but bunging it all together with cheese on the top and baking it just makes it that bit different from the norm. Here’s my recipe for Beef Ragu Pasta Bake; if you’re following the Slimming World plan, and use the mozzerella as your Healthy Extra, it’s syn free! Or add 5 syns if not using a Healthy Extra choice.
Beef Ragu Pasta Bake - Slimming World Style
A delicious, rich, meaty sauce forms the basis of this tasty yet healthy pasta bake. A great family-pleaser that's packed full of veg (but well-hidden so the kids won't know!).
Dice the onion, carrot, pepper, and celery and crush the garlic. Gently fry in a large pan using spray oil.
When the vegetables begin to soften, add in the mince and fry until browned. Drain off any excess fat and liquid.
Once the mince is browned, add the tomatoes, passata, stock cube and water. Add the tomato pureé, herbs and Worcestershire sauce and stir well. Season with salt and black pepper.
Bring to the boil, then cover and reduce the heat so the sauce gently simmers. Leave to cook for around 30 minutes. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in boiling water.
When the pasta is cooked, drain and rinse under cold water to stop it from overcooking and sticking together. Return to the pan. Turn on the oven, to gas mark 6 or 180 degrees.
When the sauce has cooked for around half an hour, add it to the pasta in the pan and mix thoroughly.
Transfer to a baking dish and top with the cubed mozzerella. Place in the centre of the oven and bake for around 20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and browned.
If you prefer, you could swap the mozzerella for reduced fat cheddar for a more 'cheesy' flavour (40g is a Healthy Extra per person).
The amounts shown make enough sauce to remove some before mixing with the pasta to freeze for another time.
For even more flavour, cook the ragu the day before and store in the fridge. When making up the pasta bake, cook it on a slightly lower heat for a while to ensure the sauce is fully heated through, then top with the cheese and turn the heat up for a bit longer until the cheese is melted and browned.