tuscan pasta bake with cavolo nero
 

It's never hard to rustle up a pasta dish, but this has the added joy of being perfect for making ahead, so it's a great crowd-feeding number. Not only does it have bags of flavour, but by using quinoa pasta you're adding more goodness and protein to your bowl. The dark, leafy greens also pack an almighty punch of antioxidants, calcium and iron. This energy-filled, immune-boosting dish of comforting pasta is a win-win.

Serves 4 people

3 tbsp rapeseed oil
1 red onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
4 sage leaves, finely chopped 250g quinoa fusilli pasta (or use normal if you can't find it)
8 rashers of streaky bacon, chopped, or 200g pancetta (optional)
125ml chicken or vegetable stock or water
2 x 400g tins of plum tomatoes
5 cavolo nero leaves, thinly sliced
3 tbsp coconut yoghurt or cream (optional)
50g cheddar or dairy -free cheese, grated

Heat the oil in a large casserole and fry the onion, garlic and sage over a medium heat for a couple of minutes.

Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions, but remove it from the heat a few minutes
before its time is up. Drain well.

In the meantime, turn up the heat on the casserole and add the bacon, if using. Stir and cook for 3-4 minutes, until the bacon is browned. Add the stock and tomatoes, crushing them with the back of a wooden spoon as you stir. Bring to the boil. Rinse the tins with a splash of water and add that to the pan, too. If you're not using bacon, season with salt and black pepper. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes, until the sauce has thickened slightly.

Add the cavolo nero leaves and simmer for 2-3 minutes more. Add the pasta to the sauce and mix well. For a creamy version, add the coconut yoghurt or cream and stir through. Transfer to a shallow ovenproof dish and top with the cheese. At this point, you could cover and refrigerate the dish until ready to cook.

Heat the oven to 180C (200C non-fan). Bake the dish for 20 minutes, until the cheese has melted and the pasta has crisp edges