Fussili pasta with sliced fennel and tomato sauce in large white casserole dish with spoon, pasta and sauce in bowl, halved fennel and grater in background.
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Pasta Bake with Fennel and Cherry Tomatoes

This simple pasta bake with fennel and cherry tomatoes is the perfect mid-week dish, easy to make and based around only a handful of ingredients.  Full of flavour and low in calories. 
Course Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine International
Keyword fennel, pasta
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 5 people
Calories 360kcal
Author Monika Dabrowski

Ingredients

  • 200 g uncooked pasta (2 cups) I used fusilli
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 large fennel quartered then thinly sliced
  • 220 g cherry tomatoes halved
  • 3 garlic cloves finely chopped
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 400 g 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 180 g passata (0.72 cups)
  • 4 tbsp white wine
  • 3 tbsp olive oil plus more for drizzling
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • 1.5 tsp each: smoked paprika and onion granules/powder
  • 60 g parmesan, coarsely grated plus 3 tablespoons finely grated; ensure it's vegetarian
  • 1 tsp coarse sea salt plus pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400 F/ 200 C/ gas mark 6. Boil the pasta for 4 minutes in salted water with a leaf then strain reserving the water (you will need 300 ml/1.25 cups). In the meantime prepare the other ingredients. In a pan/casserole dish heat up 3 tablespoons of oil and fry the garlic, onion and fennel for 6 minutes stirring often. Add the wine and continue cooking for 3 more minutes. Remove from the heat.
  • Add the tomatoes, passata, pasta (including 300 ml/1.25 cups of the water it cooked in), oregano, smoked paprika, onion granules, parmesan, salt and pepper and stir thoroughly.
  • Dot the cherry tomatoes (cut side up) over the top of the casserole, sprinkle 3 tablespoons of finely grated parmesan over the whole thing and drizzle with oil.  Bake in the upper part of the oven for 20 minutes then increase the heat to 240 C and bake for 10-15 more minutes until the sauce has caramelised around the edges.
  • Remove from the oven and serve immediately.

Notes

  • Equipment: If possible use a large shallow casserole dish that's suitable for all heat sources.  Alternatively use a large pan for making the sauce then transfer the mixture to a casserole dish.
  • Preparation: To save time prepare the sauce while the pasta is cooking.
  • Pasta: Fusilli, penne or macaroni would all work well in this recipe. Ensure the pasta is only half cooked before combining with the other ingredients. Remember to reserve the water from cooking the pasta (300 ml).
  • Best served immediately.
  • Not suitable for freezing.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 360kcal | Carbohydrates: 48g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 11mg | Sodium: 333mg | Potassium: 847mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 754IU | Vitamin C: 29mg | Calcium: 227mg | Iron: 3mg