Cheese & tomato pasta bakes

This sort of family meal is well worth making in bulk so you can eat one now and freeze the rest for later

  • Prep:1 hrs
    Cook:40 mins
  • Serves 12
  • Easy

Nutrition per serving

  • kcal 551
  • fat 27g
  • saturates 13g
  • carbs 60g
  • sugars 14g
  • fibre 4g
  • protein 21g
  • salt 1.96g


  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 bag small mixed peppers (about 7 peppers), deseeded and cut into large chunks
  • 6 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 500g pack large button mushrooms, quartered
  • 1l carton passata
  • 450ml vegetable stock
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 290g jar pitted Kalamata olives, drained
  • 500g large courgettes, halved lengthways and thickly sliced
  • 500g pack dried penne
  • 1½ l 2¾ pints milk
  • 140g butter
  • 140g plain flour
  • ¼ whole nutmeg, finely grated
  • 300g mature cheddar, grated
  • 85g hunk old bread, torn into small pieces


Freeze for another meal
To freeze, cool completely, top with baking parchment, then wrap in foil. Will freeze for up to 3 months. To serve, thaw for 5 hrs at room temperature, then cook at 200C/180C fan/gas 6 for 1 hr. To cook from frozen, heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4 and cook, covered with foil, for 2 hrs. Remove foil and cook, uncovered, for 45 mins, or until golden and hot through.Just want to serve one portion?
Divide into individual portions and freeze as above. They need less time to cook from frozen, but make sure they’re bubbling and hot before serving.


  1. Heat the oil in a large, wide pan or wok, then stir-fry the peppers for 5 mins. Add the chopped garlic and mushrooms, and cook for 5 mins more.

  2. Pour in the passata and stock, then stir in the oregano, olives and courgettes with plenty of black pepper. Leave to simmer, stirring frequently, for 10-15 mins until the vegetables are just tender and the sauce has reduced a little. Meanwhile, cook the pasta following pack instructions.

  3. To make the cheese sauce, pour the milk into a large pan and add the butter, flour, nutmeg and seasoning. Heat, stirring or whisking all the time until smooth and thickened. Stir in half the cheese and allow it to melt into the sauce.

  4. Drain the pasta and add to the tomato mixture. Pile into 2 or 3 baking dishes, pack down well, then pour over the cheese sauce (it helps to let the sauce cool and thicken a little before using so that it stays as a layer). Scatter with the remaining cheese and the bread.

  5. If eating now, bake at 200C/180C fan/ gas 6 for 40 mins until bubbling and golden. Serve with a salad.

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