May 3, 2019
We are all fans of crispy oven-seared pasta, but this particular juicy and really simple version is a real feast for all senses. The main ingredient is lenten lentil Bolognese sauce with the addition of authentic home-made ajvar. You can also sneak in and sear with this sauce any type of vegetable or cheese which you have at hand, but this is optional. It will taste great anyway.
Legumes and pasta are a classic combination of flavours in Mediterranean cuisine. Pasta made in this way, with more or less subtle changes, is an excellent meal throughout the year. Lentils are quick to cook, while pre-cooked beans can be stored in the freezer so that you always have them ready for such occasions.
When it comes to pasta, there are so many options which we can choose among that we can't even name them all. It is only important that the pasta is hollow or ridged so that it can absorb and hold this rather thick sauce. This time we used red beans, whose aroma becomes especially appealing when they're baked in the oven. We also used baby spinach and whole fat white cheese, which gives our dish a wonderful contrast both in terms of taste and colour.
500 g large hollow pasta (penne, rigatoni, tortiglioni)
1 red onion
2 cloves of garlic
300 g fresh tomatoes
300 g peeled tomatoes or tomato purée
200 g brown lentils
100 g cooked red beans
200 g baby spinach
2 tablespoonfuls of ajvar
100 g whole fat white cheese
1 tablespoon of oil
salt and pepper to taste
Dice the onion and fresh tomatoes into small cubes. Heat the oil in a deep pot, add onion cubes and let them fry gently. Put a bit of salt and pepper to add flavour, stir, add fresh tomato cubes, whole cloves of garlic, and braise until tomato cubes get soft. Stir in ajvar, add lentils, peeled tomatoes, pour around 1 dc of water used for cooking the pasta and let cook at medium low heat for about 15 minutes until lentils are cooked through. Add spinach leaves and red beans towards the end of cooking. If needed, add a bit more water and let simmer for a few more minutes. This sauce should be thick. Drain pasta and mix it into the sauce until well-filled and then pour everything into a casserole dish. Sprinkle pasta with grated cheese and thin slices of red onion and sear it in the oven, pre-heated to 180C, for 10 to 15 minutes.