Mary Berry's Bolognese Bake

This all-in-one pasta bolognese bake from Mary Berry's BBC2 series Simple Comforts is packed with flavour and can be assembled up to six hours in advance.

From the book

Simple Comforts by
Simple Comforts
Heart-warming comfort dishes from the nation's favourite cook
With easy, family-friendly recipes as well as all-out weekend feasts
Including chapters full of indulgent bakes and sweet treats

Introduction

This is a Bolognese pasta that can be assembled ahead in one dish, ready to pop in the oven. Frying the mushrooms ensures they keep firm and flavoursome, not soft and soggy.

Serves 6

Ingredients

1 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, chopped
2 celery sticks, chopped finely
675g (1½lb) minced beef
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tbsp tomato purée
2 x 400g (14oz) tins of chopped tomatoes
350ml (12fl oz) beef stock
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp redcurrant jelly
A knob of butter butter
250g (9oz) chestnut mushrooms, sliced
1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme leaves
225g (8oz) penne pasta
100g (4oz) mature Cheddar cheese, grated
50g (2oz) Parmesan cheese, grated
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Essential kit

You will need: an ovenproof dish with a capacity of about 1.8 litres (3¼ pints).

Instructions

1. You will need an ovenproof dish with a capacity of about 1.8 litres (3¼ pints).

2. Heat the oil in a deep frying pan. Add the onions and celery and fry over a high heat for about 3 minutes, until they are beginning to soften. Add the mince and brown quickly, breaking it up with two wooden spoons. Add the garlic and tomato purée and stir for a few seconds.

3. Add the tomatoes, stock, Worcestershire sauce and redcurrant jelly. Stir to combine and season with salt and pepper. Cover and reduce the heat to a low simmer, then simmer for 30–35 minutes.

4. Melt the butter in a frying pan, add the mushrooms and fry them for a minute over a high heat. Put a lid on the pan and cook for 2 minutes to draw out any liquid, then remove the lid and fry for 2 minutes over a high heat to evaporate the liquid. Add the mushrooms and the thyme to the mince, then stir well.

5. Preheat the oven to 160°C/140°C fan/Gas 3. Cook the pasta in boiling salted water according to the packet instructions – keep it al dente. Drain well and run under cold water. Stir the pasta into the mince, then taste to check the seasoning.

6. Spoon everything into the ovenproof dish. Sprinkle with both cheeses and bake in the oven for 25–30 minutes until golden and bubbling around the edges. Serve piping hot, with a green or tomato salad.

Prepare Ahead: Can be made and assembled ready to cook up to 6 hours ahead.

Freeze: Freezes well before baking.

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