A Pasta bake is a comforting, homely meal that is simple to make. Chermoula, cinnamon and lamb give this one a slightly Moroccan flavour profile.
500g Lamb mince
100ml Early Harvest Olive Oil
4 Cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
2 White onions, peeled and finely chopped
1 Carrot, finely chopped (optional)
2 Sticks celery, finely chopped (optional)
Salt and pepper
1 Jar Chermoula
½ tsp Smoked paprika
½ tsp Ground cinnamon
2 tbsp Tomato puree
1 400g Tin plum tomatoes
1 Chicken/veg stock cube
275g Penne pasta
100g Grated cheese
50g Dried breadcrumbs (optional)
Place a wide pan or casserole dish on a medium to high heat and when hot, add the lamb mince. Season with salt and pepper then use a wooden spoon to break the lamb up into small pieces as it cooks. Add a little of the olive oil if it looks like it is sticking badly. Keep cooking till all the water from the lamb has evaporated then continue to cook for a few minutes more until the meat begins to brown.
Empty the pan into a bowl then place back on the heat, add the olive oil and when hot, add the garlic, onion, carrot and celery. Cook for 10-12 minutes or until the vegetables are soft and sweet, turning down the heat if it begins to caramelise or take on too much colour. Add the Chermoula, Smoked Paprika and cinnamon and cook for another 2 – 3 minutes, so that you can smell the aroma of the herbs and spices.
Add the lamb back to the pan, along with the tinned tomatoes (rinse out the tin with a little bit of water to get everything out), tomato puree, stock cube and 200ml of water. Bring to a strong simmer, stirring to break up the tomatoes and stock cube. Allow to simmer for 20 minutes so that the flavours concentrate. It should be the consistency of a loose bolognaise, so cook for longer if it looks a bit wet. Taste, then add salt and pepper as you think necessary.
Whilst the lamb is simmering, heat your oven to 180C. Place a large pan of salted water on a high heat, cover and bring to the boil. Add the pasta and cook for 8 – 10 minutes, stirring so that they don’t stick together. You want to cook the pasta less than if you were eating it straight away, as it will continue to cook when it is baked in the oven, so its ok if it still has some resistance. Drain into a colander then set aside
Combine the pasta and the lamb sauce together in the pot the pasta was cooked in. Stir well so that all the pasta is coated. Spoon into a ceramic or metal roasting tray around 25cm x 25cm. Cover with grated cheese and breadcrumbs if using and place in the oven. Bake for 30 – 40 minutes or until a crust forms on the top and around the edges.
Remove from the oven, allow to cool for 5 minutes, then serve.