Quick and easy pasta bake

Source: Getty Images.

There’s something special about this mouthwatering pasta bake. Whether it’s the fact that the ingredient list is super budget-friendly, or that it’s hearty and therefore absolutely perfect for those cooler evenings – there’s no doubt there’s a lot to love about this meal!

But the one thing that tops it all off is the fact that it can be whipped up in 30 minutes or less thanks to the quick and easy microwaved béchamel sauce. Serve it up with a light green salad and you’ll have one of the quickest and tastiest dinners out there!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups dried risoni
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 brown onion, chopped
  • 3 middle bacon rashers, trimmed, chopped
  • 800g beef mince
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 3 sprigs fresh oregano
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 2 x 410g cans tomatoes (with basil and garlic)
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1 1/2 cups grated tasty cheese
  • Extra basil leaves, to serve
    Microwave Bechamel
  • 50g butter, chopped
  • 1/3 cup plain flour
  • 3 cups milk

Method

  1. Cook risoni in a large saucepan of boiling salted water, following packet directions, until tender. Drain well.
  2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large deep frying pan. Add onion and bacon. Cook, stirring, for 3 minutes or until browned and tender. Add mince. Cook, stirring with a wooden spoon to break up lumps, for 3 minutes or until browned. Add garlic, herb sprigs and wine. Simmer for 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes. Simmer for 15 minutes. Remove and discard herbs.
  3. Meanwhile, make Microwave béchamel by placing butter in a large microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on High (100%) for 1 minute or until melted. Add flour. Whisk to combine. Microwave for 30 seconds to 1 minute or until bubbling. Gradually whisk in 1 cup milk until smooth. Stir in remaining milk. Microwave on Medium-High (75%) for 3 to 4 minutes, whisking every minute, or until sauce thickens. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  4. Preheat grill on high. Spoon risoni into an 8-cup-capacity flameproof baking dish. Spread evenly to level. Top with mince mixture. Spread to level. Arrange basil in a single layer over mince. Pour over béchamel. Sprinkle with cheese. Grill for 2 minutes or until cheese is melted and golden. Serve sprinkled with extra basil.
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