If you’ve spent time and effort preparing a Christmas feast, then you’ll want some quick and easy recipes up your sleeve while you recover. This creamy, cheesy pasta bake fits the bill perfectly – and it’ll help you use up some of that leftover turkey.
Prep time: 30 mins or less
Cook time: 30 mins to 1 hour
300g dried pasta shapes – penne or fusilli are ideal
500g tomato & basil sauce – cheat and use shop-bought, or see below
150ml double cream
350g-500g leftover cooked turkey
4 rashers smoked streaky bacon
75g mature Cheddar cheese
2tbsp sunflower oil, plus a little extra
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
Cut the turkey into chunks and thickly slice the bacon rashers. Finely chop the onion and grate the Cheddar.
Half-fill a large saucepan with cold water and bring it to the boil Tip in the pasta and cook for ten minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200°C/180° Fan/390°F/Gas 6. Lightly oil a large, shallow ovenproof dish with a capacity of at least 2.5 litres.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan and fry the bacon and onion until lightly browned. This will take 5-8 minutes. Stir in the tomato & basil sauce and cream. Add a couple of tablespoons of the pasta cooking water to loosen the sauce and simmer for a couple of minutes. Stir in the turkey pieces and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Drain the pasta and then return it to the saucepan. Add the pasta sauce and turkey, and stir thoroughly to mix. Ensure all the pasta is evenly coated.
Tip into the oiled oven dish and sprinkle the grated Cheddar over the top. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the cheese has melted and is starting to brown. Serve alone or with a green salad.
To make your own tomato sauce
Finely chop an onion and two garlic cloves. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a heavy based pan and fry the onion and garlic gently for a few minutes until soft. Stir in a tin of chopped tomatoes or 500g chopped fresh tomatoes. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper and add a little water to loosen if needed. Simmer gently for a few minutes.
For this recipe, stir in torn fresh basil leaves or 1-2tsp dried basil at the same time as you add the seasoning.