It’s not spaghetti tempehgnese. It’s not lasagne. It is pasta based though – and it cooks in the oven (mostly). Woo hoo…it’s Penne Pasta Bake.
Here’s who you need to bring to the party:
- 1 cup of uncooked penne
- Half a medium aubergine, chopped into large chunks
- Half a medium cauliflower, separated into large florets
- One small onion; halved into hemispheres then quartered and separated (basically you want big chunks)
- More garlic than is socially acceptable; roughly chopped.
- 1/2 cup of your favourite (destoned) olives
- 1/4 cup of sun dried tomatoes, diced
- 3/4 cup of marinated artichokes (if whole artichokes then cut them into quarters))
- 1 and 1/2 cups of cooked chick peas (or a standard sized can)
- A spring of fresh rosemary, chopped
- A small handful of fresh parsley, chopped
- Ground black pepper
- Miso (or your favourite vegetable stock)
- Olive oil
- 1/2 cup white wine (plus extra for you)
- 1/2 cup of pine nuts
- 1/2 cup of capers (optional)
Here’s what you know you want to do:
Start preheating the oven (220c) and while doing so lightly toast the pine nuts (now this will challenge your multi-tasking skills won’t it!?! There is nothing quite as disappointing as singed pine nuts)
Cook the penne according to the manufacturer’s instructions but for half the time.
Meanwhile, saute the onion and garlic over a low heat in an ocean of olive oil. At the last moment add the pepper then remove from heat.
Throw the cooked mix into a deep, lidded oven-proof pot (take the lid off first or you’ll make an awful mess).
Add the parsley and rosemary.
Once the pasta is cooked, drain about a cup of the liquid back into the saucepan you cooked the onion etc in and reserve the rest of the liquid. Add the miso to the saucepan and dissolve in the cup of pasta water and the white wine.
Layer in to the oven proof dish in the following order; the pasta, the fresh herbs, the aubergine, the chickpeas, the olives, artichokes and sundried tomatoes (and chopped capers if using) and the cauliflower.
Pour the miso stock over and then drizzle very generously with olive oil.
The level of the water should be a centimetre or two below the cauliflower i.e. the florets should be exposed. If you need more liquid to achieve this level use some of the reserved pasta water; discard what you don’t need.
Bake, covered for 30-45 minutes.
Just before serving mix through the pine nuts (no…I hadn’t forgotten them!)
For the first 15 minutes after putting the meal in the oven crank the temperature up, I mean really crank it. This will get the party started (especially if you’ve had a few glasses of that white wine) and much reduce overall cooking time. After 15-20 minutes reduce the heat to 220c. A gentle word of advice from experience; much sadness results from forgetting to turn the over down from FURNACE and back to 220c.