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Beef, mushroom & eggplant pasta bake with cheesy breadcrumb topping

Pasta Bake recipeWhat dish has all your food groups covered in the one place? Why, a pasta bake of course! You’ve got protein, carbs, veges, dairy – that’s everything except your sweets. Give this recipe a go and watch your family wolf it down and ask for seconds! It’s perfect for freezing too.

Beef, mushroom & eggplant pasta bake with cheesy breadcrumb topping

Ingredients

  • 400g lean beef mince
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 medium eggplant, trimmed, diced
  • 150g mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 medium zucchini, grated
  • 2 tablespoons no added salt tomato paste
  • 400g can diced tomatoes
  • 250g whole meal penne
  • 40g (½ cup) fresh breadcrumbs
  • 65g (½ cup) grated cheddar cheese
  • Steamed baby carrots and snow peas, to serve

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C or 160°C fan forced.
  2. Heat oil in a large saucepan pan over a medium-high heat.
  3. Cook onion, stirring occasionally for 3-4 minutes or until softened.
  4. Add eggplant and mushrooms, cook for 3-4 minutes further or until golden.
  5. Add garlic and zucchini, cook for 2 minutes more.
  6. Add mince, cook breaking mince up with a wooden spoon for 5 minutes or until browned.
  7. Add tomato paste, cook for 1 minute.
  8. Add tomatoes and ¼ cup (60ml) water, bring to a simmer for 10 minutes or until thick.
  9. Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large saucepan of boiling water, according to packet instructions, or until al dente.
  10. Drain pasta and return to pan.
  11. Add the mince mixture to pasta, stir until well combined.
  12. Transfer mixture to a 2 litre (8 cup) capacity oven proof baking dish sprayed with olive oil.
  13. Combine breadcrumbs and cheese in a small bowl.
  14. Sprinkle evenly over pasta bake.
  15. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden.
  16. Set aside to cool for 2 minutes before serving.

Silky smooth
Blend ⅓ cup of the pasta bake until smooth, adding 1-2 tablespoons boiling water if necessary.

Lumpy mushy
Mash with a fork (or blend) ⅓ cup of the pasta bake until partially smooth.

Finger food
Pace some of the pasta bake in a shallow bowl, and allow them to pick up the pieces of penne in fingers. Serve with baby carrots and snow peas.

Toddler
Make mini pasta bakes by placing some of mixture in a small ramekin and topping with breadcrumb mixture. Serve with baby carrots and snow peas on side.

Tip: this pasta bake is suitable to freeze. Divide between small individual serve containers, cover with an airtight lid and freeze.

Tip: lamb mince would also work well in this recipe.

This recipe and image are courtesy of www.themainmeal.com.au.

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