Best pasta bakes

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By Jan Bilton

Winter is the ideal time to enjoy hearty cheesy, meaty, fishy or vegetable pasta bakes. Comforting and nutritious, they can often be prepared in advance and cooked just before serving. They’re the perfect prepare-ahead meals for family or friends.

Cannelloni is derived from the Italian word ‘cannellone’ meaning big pipe. It is delicious stuffed with a variety of tasty fillings, covered in sauce and baked. In America the same dish is called manicotti.

It’s difficult to identify the true birthplace of cannelloni but it was one of the first pasta shapes created.

CHILLI CON CARNE CANNELLONI

Chilli Con Carne Cannelloni

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion, diced

500g lean minced beef

35g packet Mexican seasoning mix

40g can diced tomatoes

425g can chilli beans

2 cups creamy pasta sauce

24 dried cannelloni tubes

1 1/2 cups grated tasty cheese

Heat the oil and a large non-frying pan. Sauté the onion, until softened. Add the mince mixing it with a fork to press out any lumps. Cook until lightly coloured. Stir in the seasoning mix then the tomatoes and beans. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cool a little.

Spread a little pasta sauce on the base of two 25cm x 19cm baking dishes or similar. Fill the cannelloni tubes with the chilli con carne. Place in the baking dishes. Pour the remaining pasta sauce over the top and sprinkle with the cheese. Cover with foil.

Preheat the oven to 190°C.

Bake for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking for 30 minutes until bubbling and golden-brown on top. Serves 6-8.

  • Jan Bilton is a Cambridge-based, professional food writer. For more of her pasta bakes visit her website.

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