For sometime my husband and I tried doing our weekly shopping at a much less expensive shop but realised it was cheaper because the produce had a much shorter life time. However it had some good cheese and they had a long shelf life written on them. I usually refrain from buying cheese because I do not usually use it in my cooking and very often I will end up throwing it. I still wanted to experiment few dishes with cheese and decided to buy a small block of cheddar. Quite predictably, it was sitting in my fridge until its best before date. I did not want to wait until it developed moulds so decided to make something with it today. I had been meaning to try pasta bake for a long time now and thought it to be the right opportunity. I used semi-wholewheat pasta which was a great balance in terms of taste and nutrition. The dish came out very good and even my husband liked it (I say so because he usually prefers and enjoys south Indian dishes).
Loads of diced vegetables – I used green pepper, baby corn and courgette
1 onion, sliced
1 tomato, cubed
1 cup tinned chopped tomato
Salt to taste
A dash of turmeric
Some dried oregano and other herbs of your choice
100gm of cheddar cheese grated
3 green chillies slit
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
3-4 cloves of garlic finely chopped
Heat the oil and add the garlic. Once the garlic browns, add the onions and chillies
Once the onion turns soft add the vegetables including cut tomato (not tinned tomato), required salt and cook until vegetables are done. I kept sprinkling water to help them cook and avoided adding any more oil
Add some turmeric powder, the tinned tomato and herbs and bring to boil. Simmer for few minutes.
In the meantime cook the pasta as per package instructions and now add it to the vegetable mixture and add some grated cheese and stir to allow the cheese to melt
Stir well until the pasta and the mixture is well combined. Transfer to an oven proof dish and sprinkle grated cheese on top.
Bake in preheated oven at 150degC for 15-20 minutes or until the cheese browns
I added some chilli flakes on my plate as I like food more spicy and hot. Remember not to overcook the pasta. Adding few drops of oil to pasta water and running it under cold water once you have cooked it for the specific length of time would help they stay separate and not go mushy.