Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Pasta Bolognese Bake - A Whole New Take On Lasagne!

Hi Honeys,
As you might know from past posts, a fond favourite around here is lasagne.  Well, while on Pinterest recently I saw an image of a very interesting pasta dish and it literally made me stop scrolling to find out more 😊

Hubby and I both adore anything pasta based so any new pasta recipe is more than welcome but on reading more it turns out that this interesting new dish is actually a whole new take on Hubby's absolute favourite (honestly... he'd live on it!) pasta dish of all.... lasagne.

Pasta Bolognese Bake or a new way of cooking lasagne...

As it turns out, and for lots of Rosie shaped reasons which I will explain later in this post, I ended up trying this fab recipe but changing lots of it.  Not because I thought I knew better, I would never presume to think myself a better cook than anyone else. I'm not so much talented in the kitchen as ... enthusiastic 😊

There are any number of cooks, a whole world full I'm sure, who are waaaaay better cooks than I am but what I lack in skills I'm sure I make up for in smiles and enthusiasm 😊

I'll explain as we go along but mostly it's to do with my hands... yep.  Can't get them icky honeys. Just can't.  I remember so vividly being screamed at by a teacher in Home Economics class because I just couldn't bring myself to put my hands into a bowl of ingredients to make shortcrust pastry.  Even all those years ago when I made it all the time at home, I adored cooking, especially baking, when young, but I had a tiny electric mixer for the icky bits 😊

I'm really not exaggerating when I say that even the thought, the briefest of mental images in any way related to anything going under my nails or sticking to my hands can actually creep me out.... just ewww πŸ˜“  The food processor and my handy little electric mixer are my dear friends even now 😊

Let's take a look then at my little experiment shall we honeys?  I'll include the link back to the original recipe (and the wonderful blog it's on) that inspired this version at the end of this post so you can try that version too.  OK, grab a coffee dear ones and here we go...

Pasta Bolognese Bake


Pasta Bolognese Bake - Ingredients

1 pack of rigatoni pasta (I used a 500g pack)
Ground minced beef - I used 454g pack of meat free soya mince as a substitute (see below for why)
1 jar of lasagne topper sauce
1 jar of bolognese sauce
2 beef stock cubes
1/2 onion, finely chopped


1. First fetch a spring form baking tin honeys.  These are more commonly used to make cheesecakes and have a spring loaded fastening to keep them in place around the base of the tin which is loose or separate... 

Pasta Bolognese Bake - A springform baking tin, usually used to make cheesecake is used for this recipe

2 Next is the part of this recipe I found most difficult but it's also a part of the original recipe I decided to change too, so I have no one but myself to blame 😊

In the original recipe the pasta is to be cooked first then tossed in finely grated cheese before being stood up on its end in the spring form tin but.... well we're talking me here honeys and touching cooked, possibly icky sticky food... well that's just not happening... nope 😊

I don't cook lasagne sheets before using them so I thought OK, dry, uncooked pasta I can touch so I set about standing the rigatoni pasta up in the tin... but... yep there's a but.  Thing is, they didn't want to stay standing up!  Long story short it took me around 40-45 minutes to fill the tin with the wobbly, didn't want to play along pasta tubes.

Eventually though I did get the tin of upright pasta tubes completed...

Pasta Bolognese Bake - Stand the rigatoni pasta tubes upright in the spring form baking tin

This might be a great job for any tiny humans on hand to help since wee ones would love the challenge of getting the pasta to all stand up in the tin.  Next I placed the spring form tin onto a larger baking tray which I'd lined with aluminium foil in case the bolognese mixture escaped from the spring form tin during cooking to save a mess in the oven.

I then set the whole thing aside and off I went to fetch our sautee pan.  Doesn't have to be a sautee pan honeys.  I just like using mine because it has a wide base and everything cooks lovely and evenly is all.

3. Into the pan I emptied a 454g bag of a vegetarian substitute for beef mince made from soya protein.  It's part of a new range and since I've found myself ever more drawn to a more meat free life style I'd added it to our weekly shop to try it out.  This seemed like the ideal opportunity  to try it.

Had this been ordinary minced/ground beef I would have added it to the pan with nothing more than a little oil.  To see how I cooked beef mince for my actual lasagne, you'll find the recipe (and pics) here honeys.

Since I was instead using a soya protein based substitute though, and according to the instructions on the bag, I had to measure out water to cook it in...

Pasta Bolognese Bake - This is where we make the bolognese but I'd decided to use a meat free soya protein based substitute...

When adding the water I also added two beef stock cubes.  Hubby after all is still a meat lover.  I then,  after stirring so that it was all well combined, left it all to simmer for 15 minutes or so.  Once the beef substitute was done, I then followed the same steps as I would had I been using minced/ground beef.

Take around half a brown onion, finely chopped, and add it to pan along with the jar of bolognese sauce. Stirred through again and leave to simmer for another 5-6 minutes.  Remove the pan from the heat and move on to the fun part 😊

4.  Fetch a large spoon and add the minced/ground beef mixture (or substitute in my case) to the tin with the pasta tubes.  Taking special care to push the bolognese mixture across the tops so that it falls into the holes and down between the pasta tubes....

Pasta Bolognese Bake - Use a large spoon to add your lovely fresh bolognaise mixture to the tin, making sure to push it across the surface and down into the pasta tubes...

Add all of your bolognese to the tin including the sauce honeys, since this will all be absorbed by the pasta as it cooks.

Pasta Bolognese Bake - Remember to add all of the bolognese including the sauce because the pasta tubes will absorb all of the sauce while cooking

5. Top the bolognese with a layer of white sauce.  If you have the time you could make a lovely BΓ©chamel sauce (great recipe here honeys) but I had a jar of Ragu in the cupboard and used that instead 😊

Pasta Bolognese Bake - Add a layer of white sauce to top the bolognese.

The spring form tin I used was around 9" in diameter and I used half a jar of the Ragu sauce.

6. To finish add heaps of grated cheese.  I used Scottish cheddar but mozzarella cheese would be lovely too πŸ˜‹

Pasta Bolognese Bake - Add heaps of grated cheese to finish.. I used Scottish cheddar.

7. Carefully place the tray onto the middle shelf of a pre-heated oven at 160C/320F for 45-50 minutes, until the cheese has lightly browned.

If this were a lasagne I'd be suggesting that you check if the pasta is cooked by carefully inserting a knife to see if the pasta was soft.  The knife should cut through very easily if lasagne sheets have cooked, they should not be "tough" this is the MOST important step since no one wants half cooked pasta spoiling a lovely dinner!

In the case of this version however, much better to fetch a fork and use it to pry out a piece of the pasta from the side of the tin to try.  The pasta tubes should be very soft if cooked.

If the pasta tubes are still a little tough tough turn the temperature right down to around 100C/(190/200F) (to prevent the cheese burning) and cook for a further 10 minutes or so and then check again.

8. When cooked, let the bolognese bake sit for around 5 minutes or so to settle...

Pasta Bolognese Bake - when cooked carefully remove from oven and allow to sit for a few minutes.

I can't even begin to describe the gorgeous smell in the kitchen while cooking this honeys, it was lovely! Hubby even commented on it when he got home from work 😊

9.  Carefully run a knife around the inside of the tin and then undo the spring loaded catch to release the upper part of the spring form tin.  Lift the side of the tin away and place it to one side...

Pasta Bolognese Bake - Carefully remove the spring loaded side of the tin.

Cut a lovely slice and enjoy!

Even with the bothers of getting the pasta to stand on its ends (don't even remind me that the pasta wasn't all the same length once it was inside the tin!) just looking at these photos makes me want to make it again 😊

Hubby really liked this and so did I.  It was properly, wonderfully delicious 😊

The best thing is though honeys that even if you have lots left, it freezes like a dream too!

Pasta Bolognese Bake - Leftovers? This freezes like a dream so why not pop portions into containers and into freezer for a quick dinner or lunch later in the week?

Why not cut any leftovers into portions and place into containers and into the freezer for a quick dinner or lunch idea later in the week?

I had this lovely bolognese bake with some fab fresh steamed broccoli, sliced carrots and sweetcorn and it was utterly delicious...

Bolognese Pasta Bake - Perfect served with fresh steamed vegetables.

So, there it is honeys.  My little experiment inspired by a yummy recipe I found while scrolling through Pinterest.  I changed parts of the recipe because I couldn't bare the idea of touching cooked pasta and instead of three cheeses, mine only has Scottish cheddar because that's what I had in the fridge.  Again, ours was made using a soya protein based alternative to ground/minced beef but it's what I had in the freezer 😊  

you can read the original recipe post here please do say hello to Debbie if you visit to see her recipe for Three Cheese Italian Rigatoni Pie.  Debbie says in her post that she originally heard about the recipe from Cathy on a site called A Noble Pig.  Cathy posted her version of this fabulous recipe in 2009 so this recipe has been around a while, how have I missed it?

Cathy linked to a video of this recipe on facebook which you can watch here honeys.  Cathy also states that she was inspired to make hers by a version made by the wonderful Martha Stewart but doesn't give a link so I don't have it to share I'm afraid.

What are your thoughts honeys?  Are you tempted to try this very different version of lasagne?  I think if I do make it again, and who am I kidding I know that I will 😊 then I'll make the bolognese my own tried and trusted way, using actual minced/ground beef (although again I was impressed with the alternative) and adding chopped tomatoes and a little basil and maybe oregano too.

Thank you for keeping me company dear ones, I hope your weeks off to a flying start and will be full of smiles and hugs.  Till next time, smile lots and hug even more, huggles always xx

Huggles Always Honeys xx


  1. Replies
    1. Hello, thank you so much for your lovely comment. I looked at your link and your properties are just stunning. These are dream homes, thank you for sharing, hugs x

  2. I love the idea of having to stand the pasta up like that in the pan. I'm going to have to try this.

    1. Hi Leela, I wasn't at all sure when I first tried this but it worked so well I think it'll find its way into our meal rotation :) Hubby loved it so much he took some to work with him for lunch the next day (they have a handy microwave in the office where he works.)

      It was actually fun to make and really yummy too which is a bonus. Thank you so much for visiting and for your lovely comment. I'm sorry it's taken me a few days to reply, I'm battling a horrid chest infection and it seems to be winning :/ Sending you heaps of huggles xx