With a third of all food produced going to waste, it’s really important that we all do our bit to help tackle this problem. A ‘fridge-raid’ pasta bake is the perfect opportunity to use up whatever is in your fridge or cupboard.
This recipe is only a guide – use whatever you have that must be consumed before the expiry date. Your leftover pasta bake can also be frozen for up to three months, for a convenient ‘emergency meal’.
Preparation: 15 mins
Cooking: 20–30 mins
Serves: 4–6, depending on quantities used
Here are some ideas and rough quantities – use whatever you have!
- 300–500g pasta (any shape)
- 3–5 large handfuls of veg, cooked or raw (use frozen peas or similar if you don’t have enough fresh veg)
- Any leftover cooked meat, chopped
- Olive oil (for greasing)
- 1 tsp dried mixed herbs
- Salt (to taste)
- 50–100g hard cheese, grated
For the béchamel sauce:
- 50g butter
- 50g plain flour
- 500ml milk
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper
- Sprinkle of ground nutmeg
- Preheat the oven to 200ºC (gas mark 6).
- Cook the pasta ‘al dente’ and drain in a colander.
- Roughly chop the vegetables and add to the pasta.
- Tip in the leftover meat and mix.
- Grease a large ovenproof dish with olive oil, before filling it with the pasta, meat and veggies.
- Add a sprinkling of mixed herbs and a bit of salt, and set aside.
- To prepare the béchamel sauce, start by melting the butter in a saucepan, gradually adding the flour. Keep stirring to avoid burning the roux.
- Add in the milk, a little at a time, while continuing to whisk to ensure a smooth consistency.
- Cook until the sauce has thickened, then season with the salt, cayenne pepper and nutmeg.
- Pour the sauce over the pasta mix, ensuring all the ingredients are covered, and scatter the grated cheese evenly over the whole dish.
- Bake for around 20–30 minutes, depending on whether you’re using cooked or raw vegetables, until the top is golden and crispy.
Serve with a side salad and garlic bread.
For a traditional Italian pasta dish, head over to our best-ever bolognese recipe.