Todd went in to town on his own today, and I was left here at home on my own. It was a beautifully sunny day, and he fancied a walk about the town. With my osteo-arthritis I am not so great at walking great distances these days. I don't really mind him going in on his own. I am happy that he is able to do it . . . although I do miss going in with him sometimes.
I stay behind most of the time these days, and putter about here in the house . . . drawing . . . painting . . . baking and cooking. We are content to please ourselves, and then we come together at the end of the day, him armed with his tales of what's going on in Chester, and me armed with a plate of cakes or some such.
Today I thought I would take advantage of his absence and make myself some pasta for my lunch. He had a McDonald's coupon for a quarter pounder with cheese and fries, so I knew he would be well fed regardless.
I just love pasta and I hardly ever have it because Todd hates it. I know . . . there's no accounting for some people's taste! It takes all kinds!
I'm just happy with a big bowl of buttered macaroni, mixed with some tinned tomatoes and a slice of bread and butter, but I thought today that I would do something just a bit fancier.
And so I did. The recipe does feed four, but I was quite able to cut it back to make a single serving sized dish just for me. It would actually look nice baked in four single serving sized casseroles or oven proof bowls for your family. Who wouldn't like a casserole that was just for them?
Fussili coated in a delicously scrumptious tomato sauce, chock full of black olives and baked under a mountain of fresh mozzarella until the cheese is scrummily meltingly oozingly delish.
Need I say more?
*Baked Tomato and Mozzarella Pasta*
One of my little indulgences. A flavourful tomato sauce, with pasta and mozzarella cheese, baked in the oven until the mozzarella is meltingly scrummy.
1 TBS olive oil
1 small onion, peeled and minced
1 fat clove of garlic, peeled and minced
1 small carrot, peeled and minced
1 stalk of celery, trimmed and minced
1 tsp of freeze dried basil
1 tsp of freeze dried oregano
1 tsp brown sugar
pinch of cloves
1 tsp sherry vinegar
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 (400g) tin of chopped plum tomatoes in juice, undrained (14 ounce)
1 3/4 ounces of small black olives, pitted and halved (about 1/4 cup)
10 1/2 ounces of cooked pasta (I like fusilli or penne, but you can even use elbow macaroni)
1 ball of fresh mozzarella cheese, torn into bits
Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4. Butter 4 individual shallow gratin dishes. Set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium low heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes until softened. Add the carrot, celery and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, for a further 5 minutes. Add the un-drained tin of tomatoes, basil, oregano, sugar, cloves and vinegar. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a quick simmer and cook for a further 5 to 10 minutes, until slightly thickened. Stir in the olives and season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir this mixture into the cooked pasta.
Divide the pasta mixture evenly among-st the gratin dishes. Dot each with some torn mozzarella. Place on a baking tray and slice into the preheated oven. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbling.