We show you how to make pasta al forno, an amazing cheesy, creamy baked pasta dish. A hearty family dinner and a real crowd-pleaser. A standalone dinner or great with a fresh green salad. Perfect for vegetarians and meat-eaters alike. Great midweek meat-free meal
If you are making our homemade marinara tomato sauce, then start with making this - link in the notes
800 g Marinara sauce
Then, preheat your oven to 200°C/400°F
Next, you need to undercook your pasta, bring a pan of salted water to a boil, and cook your pasta for approximately 3½ minutes (it needs to be raw/soft and not al dente.) Once cooked, drain the pasta, add a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil to it, to help prevent it from sticking together and set it aside
1 pinch Salt, 400 g Penne pasta
If you are using store-bought tomato sauce, now is the time to add it to a saucepan and gently heat it
Now make your cheese sauce, you'll need to make a roux first. In a medium saucepan on medium heat, add butter and melt, when the butter has melted add the flour slowly and keep stirring it constantly with a wooden spoon until it has formed a paste. Now add your milk slowly, constantly stirring until it starts to thicken, and then add vegetarian cheddar cheese, ground nutmeg, and salt and pepper
50 g Butter, 40 g Plain flour, 400 ml Full fat milk, 100 g Cheddar cheese, 1 tsp Ground nutmeg, Salt and pepper to season
Add your cooked pasta to the tomato sauce (or marinara sauce) and toss it until the pasta is covered evenly. Now pour the pasta and tomato sauce into a baking dish and ensure that it is evenly distributed
Add the cheese sauce and ensure that it coats the cooked pasta evenly. Add a layer of panko breadcrumbs. Drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil evenly and then add a layer of freshly grated vegetarian parmesan cheese
100 g Cheddar cheese, 30 g Panko breadcrumbs, Drizzle Olive oil, 2 tbsp Parmesan cheese
Bake in the oven for 30 minutes until you see the breadcrumbs are toasted, crispy, golden brown and you can hear the pasta bubbling. Remove from the oven and serve immediately in bowls with a garnish of chopped fresh basil leaves
Bellissima! Enjoy a bowl of delicious homemade vegetarian baked pasta!
Fresh basil garnish
Want to batch cook baked pasta? Our pasta al forno is perfect for doubling up and freezing, we'd recommend following the recipe instructions up until the point of baking it in the oven, then freezing it. It'll keep for up to 2 months and you can bake it from frozen in a cold oven, just add approximately 20 - 30 minutes
Like a little spice? It's not traditionally Italian, but you could add in some red pepper flakes to spice your baked pasta up
Want to cut down on the dish washing? Use a dish that can go straight from the hob and into the oven!
Want it extra cheesy? Use vegetarian mozzarella cheese, this will give you another level of cheesiness!