Advent calendar: 13. Oven pasta dinner

Request: please, please, please help me come up with a decent name for this recipe. When Neal asks what’s for tea and the answer is this, I never know what to say and come out with a description at least a paragraph long.

This is a sort of hybrid of ratatouille (Italian), pastitsio (Greek) and another thing I’ve forgotten the name of.


Some pasta, I like macaroni.
Onion, and some more onion.
Red pepper (optional)
Natural yoghurt (quite a lot)
2 eggs
Lamb mince
Paprika, maybe oregano, salt/pepper, veg stock cube


1. Make some ratatouille. I chop all the veg teeny tiny like 2mm dice. You may prefer it chunkier. It’s your dinner, do what you want. Ignore these sub steps if you wish, and just make it however you like it. This idea is basically why there are no quantities in the ingredients. Use what you’ve got or whatever you think.
   1.1 Chop onion. Soften in olive oil.
   1.2 Dice red pepper, add to pan
   1.3 Dice aubergine, add to pan (you may want to add more oil here)
   1.4 Dice courgette, add to pan
   1.5 Dice tomatoes, add to pan
   1.6 Realise you forgot the garlic, quickly crush some and add it to the pan.
   1.7 Season as you wish with herbs or pepper or whatever
   1.8 Add some stock but you don’t want this wet, you want it thickish. I sometimes just crumble a cube in to the veg and add passata instead of water, and maybe some water later if it looks like it needs it.
  1.9 Leave the ratatouille cooking until it is finished cooking. It can take a really good long stew, so feel free to leave it ages. Just don’t let it burn onto the bottom of your Le Creuset like I did, it took a whole week of scrubbing to get it off.

2. Cook some mince.
   2.1 Soften some more finely chopped onion in olive oil, and maybe some crushed garlic. Nether of these is essential, but I like it.
   2.2 Add the lamb mince to the onion when it’s nicely softened. Fry until cooked. It will probably release LOTS of oil. This is good. Fat is good for you, and tasty too.
   2.3 Add some passata and some paprika. Both of these are mainly for colour. I think. Some tomato chunks would probably be nice here, so you could use actual tomato. Or a tin. Or none of the above.
   2.4 Don’t drain the fat off. It’s nice. Unless for health reasons you don’t want to eat too much.

3. Cook some pasta. Drain it when done. Mix it through the mince mixture. See, the fat nicely coats the pasta. It’s all good, I promise. Unless you got really rubbish mince, in which case it’s too late now. Never mind.

4. Make a weird topping thing
   4.1 Crack two eggs into a bowl. Break the yolks, mix up a bit.
   4.2 Add loads of yoghurt. Stir the two together.
   4.x You could make a bechamel sauce instead if you wanted. I can’t be arsed.

5. Assemble
   5.1 Put the ratatouille in the bottom of a deep oven dish.
   5.2 Put the pasta and mince on top.
   5.3 Pour the yoghurt mix over the top. It will probably ooze into the pasta a bit.
   5.4 Grate over some cheese

6. Cook
   6.1 Put it in the oven (about 180)
   6.2 Leave it there until the cheese and/or topping has gone golden crispy.

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