There is something about this time of year, when I’m still half in school holiday-mode, where all ideas of meal plans and being organised in dinner-related dinner activities go flying out the window with all of my cares and most of my dreams.
This means I’m either scrabbling to find dinner out of whatever we happen to have in the cupboard, or I’ve forgotten about dinner until it’s dinner time. Which is where I drag out the pasta bake. Find sad veg, add to pasta, top with cheese, EAT WITH WINE.
Normally I’m even lazier and I just chop veg and throw it in the sauce, then throw the sauce on the pasta. Then throw the lot in the oven. This time I pre-roasted the veg which is only ever going to be a good thing – roasting really brings out their flavour. And if you’ve got half a container of black olives, throw them in too – the more flavour the better!
I usually cook one 500g packet of pasta to just before al dente (it will keep cooking in the oven) – I’ve been buying organic pasta in bulk lately so I’ve got PLENTY to go round. This time I roasted a bunch of asparagus (cut into pieces), a few mushrooms, a mixture of all the tomatoes I could find lying around, some onion, and a couple of cloves of garlic. All in the same pan, all with a generous pour of olive oil and plenty of sea salt and cracked black pepper. Mix that lot once cooked with a can or two of tomatoes or a jar of tomato passata, pinch of sugar, bit o’ basil and some more salt, pepper, and olive oil. Stir the sauce through the pasta, top with excruciating amounts of a good, sharp cheese, and pop in the oven until all have had a change to mingle and perhaps even a couple of them make out in the corner.
Pour wine into a glass. Sit on the couch with a bowl of this in one hand, and your wine in the other. Enjoy.