My friends just had a baby! Squeals of excitement all round! It’s their third, and their first boy. His two big sisters (and parents) are suitably thrilled.
And it seemed only right, after all the effort they’d gone to to bring the little man into the world, that someone else should cook them dinner. Kipper and I set to and whipped this up in the afternoon, so we could deliver it in good time for them to stick it in the oven and tuck in come dinnertime.
In the event, our meals-on-wheels service, which should have been a quick drop off, turned into a longer visit as Kipper played with the big sisters, and I admired the baby (and my ovaries shrieked wildly at me about having another one myself – TMI?). I don’t suppose the new arrival will have eaten much (any!) of this, but it’s packed with nutritious goodies that should help Mum make lots of lovely Mummy Milk. (We took some Yummy Mummy bars too, of course.)
This recipe is a fun way to use vegetarian sausages in a slightly different way from usual (which in our house is either toad in the hole, or with mash & gravy). (No doubt you could use regular meaty sausages, if that’s what floats your boat.) It’s also a great dish in that you can prepare it in advance, as I did for my friends and their newly enlarged family, and then stick it in the oven when you’re ready for it.
I really like the combination of peppers, mushrooms, and vegetarian sausages, but I’m sure you can substitute whatever vegetables you have handy without it going too badly wrong. You also have the time-saving option of simply serving the sausages and sauce with the pasta, rather than mixing it together and baking it. You don’t get the lovely golden cheesy top, but you do save 20 minutes.
This amount serves 3 adults, or 2 adults and 2 small people. (You can just add more pasta to the same amount of sauce if you need to serve 4 adults.)
- 1 medium onions
- 100g button mushrooms
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large red pepper
- 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
- 6-8 vegetarian sausages
- 180g pasta
- 150g grated cheese
- Preheat the oven to 180C.
- Peel and chop the onions. Cut the mushrooms into halves or quarters. Heat the oil in a large pan over a medium heat and cook the onions and mushrooms, stirring occasionally, for a few minutes until starting to soften.
- Deseed and slice the pepper. Add to the pan and stir well. Stir in the chopped tomatoes. Partly cover the pan and simmer for around 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, fry the vegetarian sausages according to the packet directions. Diagonally slice each cooked sausage into 5 or 6 pieces and set aside.
- Cook the pasta in boiling water according to the packet. Drain.
- Combine the drained pasta, sliced sausages and vegetable and tomato sauce. Transfer to a baking dish and top with the grated cheese.
- Bake at 180C for around 20 minutes, until the dish is piping hot and the top is golden and bubbling.
- If baking from cold, add 15-20 minutes to the cooking time to ensure the bake is heated right through.