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It’s that time of year when the weather has started to turn cooler, and all I want is a big bowl of something warm and comforting! My cheesy Vegetarian Pasta Bake hits all the right notes when the seasons start to change!
Vegetarian Pasta Bake Inspired by Pizza!
Those of you who are regular readers, may be slightly surprised that I didn’t jam a load of meat into this dish! The inspiration for the flavours in this pasta bake came from a chain restaurant in the UK that I think I’m going to miss now that I’m living in Toronto, Pizza Express. My go to pizza there is a Padana Romana, call me crazy, but I’m just not a pepperoni girl! I wanted to incorporate all of the flavours from my favourite pizza in to a pasta dish, and this did not disappoint!
Cheesy and Creamy Vegetarian Pasta Bake Recipe
The red onions are slow cooked to really release the sweetness – this process takes around 30 minutes, but if you want to speed up the process and have the heat higher, you can do it in 15 – just keep stirring the pan. The rich and creamy goats cheese sits so perfectly with the sweet onions and mildness of the spinach.
My cheesy Vegetarian Pasta Bake recipe is perfect for weeknight meals and lunches. I love to cook this big batch up on a Sunday and either reheat portions on weeknights or have it as cold lunches. Trust me, the left overs are the best bit!
Vegetarian Pasta Bake
For the onions
- 3 red onions finely chopped
- 1 white onion finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves roughly chopped
- 1.75 ounces salted butter (50g)
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
For the cheese sauce
- 2.6 ounces salted butter (75g)
- 1.75 ounces plain flour (50g)
- 2 pints milk (950ml)
- 3.5 ounces mozzarella grated (100g)
- 3.5 ounces cheddar grated (100g)
For the pasta bake
- 9 ounces baby spinach fresh (260g)
- 5.3 ounces goats cheese cut into rounds (150g)
- handful cherry tomatoes cut in half
- 2.2 pounds fresh pasta or cooked (1kg)
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- For the onions, put a large frying pan on a low-medium heat and add the butter to melt it. Add in the onions and garlic cloves and cook for around 15 minutes, stirring occasional, until the onions soften. After 15 minutes, add the sugar and vinegar and cook for another 15minutes. Put to one side
- Pre heat the oven to 180ºc / 350ºf
- For the cheese sauce, melt the butter in a saucepan on a medium heat. Gradually add stir in the flour until you form a paste. Keep cooking for 3-4 minutes to cook the flour. Gradually add the milk and whisk until the flour and butter is mixed. Add the cheeses a handful at a time, keep whisking, until you have a silky cheese sauce.
- Place the pasta in a large saucepan or bowl and add in the warm cheese sauce. Stir in the spinach, a handful at a time so it wilts and then add the cooked onions. Ensure the ingredients are combined.
- Spoon the pasta mix into a large, ovenproof dish and place the goats cheese and tomatoes on top. Drizzle with a little lemon juice
- Place in the oven for 30-40 minutes until piping hot