Pasta bake, in all of it’s one-pot glory, ticks every single box. Not only is this family favourite food the ultimate veggie smuggler recipe but it is perfect for feeding fussy eaters and is second to none when it comes to comfort food. Oh, and if you’ve ever asked the question, can you freeze pasta bake – the answer is yes!
But before you decide what pasta bake you would like to cook, you must know these following tips which will help you to achieve the perfectly cooked pasta, a flavoursome sauce and to create the all important, bubbly and golden top.
Tips to a better pasta bake
Use the right pasta
Making the perfect pasta bake recipe starts with the type of pasta you choose. Think about a pasta that will keep all of the saucy goodness in your dish. Try a ribbed penne or fusilli (spiral pasta), these have grooves that will soak up the great flavours of your sauce.
Undercook your pasta
To avoid mushy baked pasta, be sure to undercook the pasta in its boiling phase. Because the pasta is going into hot sauce in a hot oven it’ll continue to cook, so this way you will achieve the desired consistency.
Let your pasta bake rest
Okay so it’s slightly hard to not serve up the baked goodness that is, your pasta bake, straight away. However, it’s important to wait about 5-10 minutes. This gives the sauce time to settle and slightly firm up. The result, your pasta bake will hold its shape, be easier to slice.
How to get a thick pasta sauce
Like any baked dish with sauce, the consistency of the sauce will thin when placed in a hot oven. It is better to have a thicker sauce, that will thin in the cooking process, than a sauce which will cause your dish to fall apart when served.
TIP: To thicken a sauce quickly with cornflour, use 1 tablespoon of cornflour with equal parts water and mix together in a small bowl until it is smooth and free of lumps. Then, slowly add this mixture to your sauce while stirring constantly.
Don’t just hope for the best, taste as you go
As there can be a lot of components to certain pasta bakes it’s important to taste as you go and season accordingly.
Don’t forget the cheese
The best way to achieve a beautiful golden top for your pasta bake is to use a blend of cheeses. On its own, cheddar will become too oily, mozarella will not create a strong flavour, and parmesan will be slightly too sharp. However, a combination of the three will balance out each of these characteristics and create a perfect golden top.
TIP: To add a bit of crunch to the top of your pasta bake recipe, sprinkle a thin layer of breadcrumbs on top of your cheese before baking.
Pasta bake recipe to try
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