Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Meatball pasta bake

I often get a pack of meatballs in one of the 3for£10 deals but as the family appetites have increased, a pack of 12 really doesn't go very far! One day a week I feed only myself and the 3 kids but even then 3 meatballs per person isn't always enough!
I was looking for a way to make them go further and it occurred to me I could adapt the wonderful chicken and ham pasta bake from Gill Holcombe's excellent first book, thereby also saving me from the bit of cooking I for some reason really dislike, which is boiling and draining pasta!

So:

Fry a pack of meatballs in a wide shallow pan (if you have one which is oven-safe you can save on washing up too!)
Once they are browned on all sides, add a finely chopped onion and sliced garlic if liked.
Add a handful of sliced chestnut mushrooms if you wish also.
Now open a litre carton of tomato juice and pour out a glassful. Save this for a Bloody Mary or just a refreshing drink later. Now pour the rest of the carton into the pan and stir in about half a pack of cream cheese until it is all melted in. You may wish to add any herbs or Marigold powder or other seasoning as wished.
Now add uncooked pasta shapes, about a handful per person, or premeasured if you prefer. Mix well. Then either pour into a baking dish, or if the pan is oven safe just put it straight in the oven at 180°C for 25-30 minutes, top with grated cheese and maybe some crushed crisps. Bake for another 10-15 mins and the pasta should be perfectly cooked. Serve with a salad or a cooked green veg.

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