“Mummy, mummy, put this on your blog!”
So spake Kipper, after trying this deliciously hearty lentil pasta bake. And who was I to argue 🙂
I must admit, I was a little surprised by her reaction. I didn’t expect her to be so taken with a dish of lightly spiced, tomatoey lentils and pasta. I’d made this as a prepare-ahead dinner and my focus had largely been on ease and nutrition, rather than on making a super-tasty, massively appealing dish. Apparently though, you can have both. What luck!
I think the trick was putting olives and garlic into the sauce. Kipper LOVES olives, and is also quite keen on garlic, and I expect these things helped her to overlook the fact that she’s not a big fan of lentils, and won’t eat tomatoes at all (unless heavily disguised, as in this case, heh heh).
It’s also possible that because this was a Monday night dinner, and she’d come home from her dance class ravening, that she would have eaten whatever was put in front of her. Who knows?
Mind you, I quite enjoyed it, and even DH ate a big portion of yummy lentil pasta. The sauce is very tasty and the whole dish warms you up from the inside. Just what’s required at the moment. Be extra-generous with the cheese if you want to make it really indulgent.
As I said, this tomato & lentil pasta bake was made in advance and then left in the oven with the timer set, so we returned from dancing to a hot, delicious, dinner. The house smelled amazing when we opened the front door – I love it when that happens 🙂
I used dried lentils and cooked them separately before making the rest of the bake, but you could just as easily use ready-prepared tinned or frozen ones. It makes the cooking time a bit shorter, but it’s not exactly hard work to leave them alone while they boil, and then drain them.
We ate three generous portions for dinner, and I had the leftovers for lunch next day. Serves 4.
- 75g small green lentils (raw)
- 1 small onion
- 4 cloves garlic
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 400g tin chopped tomatoes
- 1 tbsp tomato puree
- 15 pitted black olives, sliced
- 0.25 tsp crushed chilli
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 175-200g short pasta
- 65g grated cheddar cheese
- Rinse the lentils. Place in a saucepan and cover with plenty of cold water. Bring to the boil then simmer for 45 minutes. Drain.
- Meanwhile, peel and slice the onion. Peel and crush the garlic. Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan and cook the onion and garlic for 2-3 minutes until starting to soften.
- Add the chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, olives and chilli to the pan. Mix well, cover and reduce the heat. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 25-30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Cook the pasta in boiling water according to the directions on the packet. Drain.
- Preheat the oven to 180C.
- Combine the cooked lentils, tomato sauce, and cooked pasta, and mix well. Transfer to a baking dish and sprinkle the grated cheese over the top.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, until the cheese is melted and golden. Serve at once.
- You can substitute 200g cooked green lentils for the dried lentils. Don't boil them, just add to the sauce with the pasta.