Cheese & tomato pasta bakes

Cheese & tomato pasta bakes

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(14 ratings)

Prep: 1 hr Cook: 40 mins


Serves 12

This sort of family meal is well worth making in bulk so you can eat one now and freeze the rest for later

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable
  • Vegetarian

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal551
  • fat27g
  • saturates13g
  • carbs60g
  • sugars14g
  • fibre4g
  • protein21g
  • salt1.96g
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  • 3 tbsp olive oil
    olive oil

    Olive oil

    ol-iv oyl

    Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…

  • 1 bag small mixed peppers (about 7 peppers), deseeded and cut into large chunks



    Also known as capsicums, bell peppers, sweet peppers or by their colours, for example red and…

  • 6 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 500g pack large button mushroom, quartered
  • 1l carton passata
  • 450ml vegetable stock
  • 2 tsp dried oregano



    Closely related to marjoram, of which it is the wild equivalent, oregano has a coarser, more…

  • 290g jar pitted Kalamata olives, drained
    Bowl of olives



    Widely grown all over the Mediterranean, where they've been cultivated since biblical times…

  • 500g large courgettes, halved lengthways and thickly sliced



    The courgette is a variety of cucurbit, which means it's from the same family as cucumber,…

  • 500g pack dried penne

For the cheese sauce & topping

  • 1½ l 2¾ pints milk



    One of the most widely used ingredients, milk is often referred to as a complete food. While cow…

  • 140g butter



    Butter is a dairy product made from separating whole milk or cream into fat and…

  • 140g plain flour
  • ¼ whole nutmeg, finely grated



    One of the most useful of spices for both sweet and savoury

  • 300g mature cheddar, grated
  • 85g hunk old bread, torn into small pieces


  1. Heat the oil in a large, wide pan or wok, then stir-fry the peppers for 5 mins. Add the chopped garlic and mushrooms, and cook for 5 mins more.

  2. Pour in the passata and stock, then stir in the oregano, olives and courgettes with plenty of black pepper. Leave to simmer, stirring frequently, for 10-15 mins until the vegetables are just tender and the sauce has reduced a little. Meanwhile, cook the pasta following pack instructions.

  3. To make the cheese sauce, pour the milk into a large pan and add the butter, flour, nutmeg and seasoning. Heat, stirring or whisking all the time until smooth and thickened. Stir in half the cheese and allow it to melt into the sauce.

  4. Drain the pasta and add to the tomato mixture. Pile into 2 or 3 baking dishes, pack down well, then pour over the cheese sauce (it helps to let the sauce cool and thicken a little before using so that it stays as a layer). Scatter with the remaining cheese and the bread.

  5. If eating now, bake at 200C/180C fan/ gas 6 for 40 mins until bubbling and golden. Serve with a salad.

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Comments, questions and tips

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D R's picture
2nd Nov, 2018
This is my prized possession of a recipe! Works out fantastically every time - delicious.
Michael Jones's picture
Michael Jones
18th Aug, 2018
It was tasty enough and I liked tbne bread cubes as they provided an extra texture but it produces an enormous amount so consider halving the ingredients as others have done. I would also warn that the prep time is very long - lots of chopping. However the most frustrating point was the cheese sauce as try as I might I couldn't get it to thicken until I added cornflour. I suspect this was because I used semi-skimmed milk so I would use full fat next time (but only half of it!).
19th Nov, 2012
Pasta sauce was delicious as it had both white and red sauce.My family enjoyed the recipe. Will definitely make it again.
26th Apr, 2012
Halved this recipe although made quite a lot of the cheese sauce. Added a teaspoon or so of fennel seeds to the vegetables which gave a lovely extra dimension. Will make again and again!
24th Mar, 2012
I halved this recipe which worked well except that I made extra cheese sauce because not all the vegetables were covered.. The vegetables smelled great while they were cooking and the finished dish was delicious. Would definately make it again.
17th Sep, 2011
Very good pasta sauce. I've frozen the pasta sauce by itself rather than potting the pasta up as well.
29th Aug, 2014
I made this to use up a glut of late summer courgettes and I was delighted with the results. The smell while it was cooking was mouthwatering and we loved the dish. I will also make this one again and again! Thank you.
Maria Slptsva's picture
Maria Slptsva
4th Jun, 2019
Made this pasta bake yesterday and baked today - I love pasta bakes and this one is delicious! I skipped the bread part, and added some other veggies I had instead of peppers and olives - feel like this is a recipe that can be varied a bit :) However, considering the many steps and prep (veggies and sauce, pasta, cheese sauce, bake) it's definitely better to have plenty of time to make the big batch. Can be student-friendly, with a bit of planning))
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