I love a good pasta bake. In fact, I just love pasta. So much so that I could eat it every day. I really should be Italian!
Sadly though, my body doesn’t always love it.
While I’m not coeliac – and THANK GOODNESS – I do have a bit of a wheat intolerance which is really irritating.
One of the only pasta brands I can eat without my tummy bloating out and otherwise whinging at me is Barilla. And I think the main reason is because it’s made in Italy with Italian grown flour.
A dietician did once tell me that Australian grown flour is higher in the gluten protein. This could be why I have issues with foods made with Australian grown wheat, but not so much with foods made with Italian and French grown wheat.
I certainly noticed when I was eating my body weight in baguettes in Paris earlier this year that my tolerance was far, far greater for their bread than it is when I eat bread in Australia. Which is a bit disappointing as I could also eat bread for every meal.
But that’s [mostly] OK, because it means when I do eat it, I really, really enjoy it.
The lovely people at Barilla recently sent me a big box of goodies to mark the launch of their gluten free pasta. It included three pasta shapes (spaghetti, penne and macaroni) and three sauces (can’t remember which ones, have eaten them all…). As one of my cousins is a coeliac, I thought I would keep the pasta for when she next visited, and make a mac & cheese. Sadly she is also a bit dairy intolerant so I didn’t think she would appreciate the creamy, cheesy goodness of mac & cheese. Drat.
Spicy pork sausage pasta bake it was.
If you are thinking ewwww gluten free pasta, then stop. right. now. (channelling the Spice Girls here!). If I hadn’t read the box myself, I would have never known the Barilla gluten free pasta is gluten free. I ate the penne a few weeks ago and The Accountant said “I thought you were trying the gluten free pasta tonight”. Seriously, it’s as good as the regular.
Spicy pork sausage pasta bake
What you need:
- olive oil
- 1 brown onion, peeled and diced
- 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely diced
- 500g of good quality Italian pork sausages, casings removed
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- 1/2 tsp chilli (optional)
- 1 red capsicum, deseeded and diced
- 300g button mushrooms, cut into quarters or slightly smaller
- 1 jar artichoke hearts, drained
- 1 jar of Barilla Basilico sauce (tomato and basil) or 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
- 1/2 cup of red wine
- 150g grated mozzarella
- 50g grated parmesan
- 1 packet of Barilla gluten free macaroni
What you do:
Preheat oven to 180c.
Add 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil to a large fry pan. Add onion and garlic and fry on a medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Add the sausage (make sure you have removed the casings, or the skin) and use a wooden spoon to break it up into small chunks, so it looks like mince. This will take about 5 minutes to cook. Add the fennel seed, chilli, capsicum, mushrooms, artichoke hearts, Basilico sauce and red wine. Mix well together and leave to cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Meanwhile, cook the macaroni in a pot of boiling water, following the directions on the packet. HOWEVER make sure you cook it for 2-3 minutes LESS than the packet says, as you want it only about 80% cooked – it will cook through in the oven, and you don’t want it to become mooshy.
When both the pasta and the sauce are ready, drain the pasta and add it to the sauce. Mix it together and put in a large lasagne dish. Sprinkle with the two cheeses and bake for about 20 minutes until the cheese is melted and golden.
Serve with a salad and a glass of red wine.
Are you a bit of a pasta addict too? And do you also love a pasta bake??
Disclaimer – this post was not sponsored, however Barilla sent me a box of goodies, with, I might add, a note saying they hoped I liked it, no expectation of anything in return, but if I wanted to share via social media then they would be grateful. The accompanying letter is just one of many reasons why I am a fan. Fabulous food is another. Thank you Barilla.
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