Cheese and Mince Pasta bake

I’ve decided that I like making Italian stuff, its fun. I also really like the pasta shell things, its the superior pasta and nothing with change my mind. The cheese sauce for this is definitely my favourite thing about it, I think it’d work very well in a lasagne, I added basil and parsley and it makes it 10x better. Everyone seems to like it and its a pretty easy thing you don’t have to concentrate fully on, which is great for me because I have the attention span of a goldfish with dementia.

You will need:

For the pasta/mince thing:

  • 175g Pasta shells, cooked in milk water and drained (175g is dry weight)
  • 2tbsp Olive oil
  • 1/2 Onion, peeled and chopped
  • 500g Minced beef
  • 4 Sticks celery, sliced
  • 2 tbsp Plain flour
  • 2tsp Mixed herbs (oregano, parsley, basil)
  • 400g Canned chopped tomatoes
  • 1 beef stock cube + 150ml hot water
  • Several dashes of Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt and black pepper

For the sauce/topping:

  • 35g Unsalted butter
  • 35g Plain flour
  • 300ml Milk
  • 4tsp Cheese sauce granules (optional, it just thickens it up a bit)
  • 1tsp Dry mustard powder
  • 1tsp Basil
  • 1/2tsp Parsley
  • 60g Mature Cheddar cheese, grated
  • Bit of salt and pepper (white pepper may be preferable to appearance but I don’t really think it makes a difference)

Method:

  1. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan, add the chopped onion and a bit of salt. Cook gently for a few minutes until going soft, then add the celery and mince, mix well and sit often to cook the mince evenly, season with salt and pepper.
  2. Once the mince is cooked, add the flour and mix well, add mixed herbs and tomatoes, mix well. Now add the stock and W sauce, season to taste. Allow to simmer for a minute or two, then add the drained pasta and mix evenly. Tip out into a casserole dish and level out. Leave aside.
  3. In a smaller, non-stick pan, melt the butter and flour together until it forms a thick paste with no butter lumps, gradually add the milk, beating well between each addition, once all the milk is beaten in, make sure there’s no lumps or anything, bring to a gentle simmer.
  4. Add the cheese granules, mustard powder and herbs, mix well. Put half of the grated cheese in the sauce, mix. keep the other half. preheat oven to gasmark 6/ 200*C/400*F.
  5. Sprinkle some chopped peppers into the casserole dish if you want, then spoon the cheese sauce on top of the mince mixture and level out, sprinkle the other half of the cheese on top to that. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the edges of the sauce are browned and crisp. Done.
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