Pasta bake saved my life last Thursday

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It’s been a while since I bought jars of sauce.

I used to use them quite a bit when I worked full time but since becoming a more confident cook I’ve been less reliant on them.

Possibly no longer having the incentive to save glass jars stopped me buying them. The cellar shelves were rammed with eight jars each of a myriad of styles and sizes. I used to select bottled sauces on the desirability of the shape/size versus familiarity with how easily the labels washed away and how reliably the safety buttons would suck back down sealing the new contents. With the cellar shelf complete, little jam or chutney making in process and a desire to reduce the inconvenience of recycling glass, fewer jars were bought in our household.

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My most frequently bought sauces in jars used to be Sainsbury’s stir in sauces of mushroom and pesto (short squat jars with vertical ridges), Buitoni (because it was the closest shape to some Italian ones given to me when my Italian housemate returned to her homeland) and Bisto cook in sauce (tall jars with straight sides that had lids with excellent safety buttons).

I would generally have bought Ragu for its lasagne sauces; tomato and bechamel. Oddly one thing I’d not done with stuff in jars was pasta bake since I’d previously been under the illusion it was necessary to pre-cook the pasta and bunging sauce on boiled pasta was quicker.

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So when Ragu asked me to road test their new range of pasta bake sauces, I knew they’d be a big hit for dinner with Ted and said yes.

They’re a one dish dish if you get what I mean. No saucepan and no boiling.

Last Thursday I was feeling decidedly under the weather and was looking for a low effort supper and the Ragu pasta bake came to the rescue.

Even in my fragile state I managed to weigh 200g of pasta, tip over the sauce and some water and bung in the oven.

After about half an hour you give it a stir and add some cheese. Since I’d not been up to grocery shopping our cupboards were somewhat depleted and I had to forage for what as left to use instead of normal ordinary grated cheese.

I added some chunks of tomato and chive Boursin and a little grated parmesan. And I chucked in some leftover peas and beans from the fridge.

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I was able to pop it back in the oven and go back to moping on the sofa.

This pasta bake was tomato & herb however other flavours in the range include tomato & bacon, tuna, cheese & bacon. For vegetarians there is also tomato, garlic and chilli.

At £1.99 I find them a tad expensive however if I saw them on BOGOF I might stock up on them.

I was attracted to being able to make a pasta dish that didn’t require babysitting a saucepan which might boil over. If you were serving this dish to four people you’d need something else along side as this was only enough for 2 adults and 1 child by itself. I’d normally cook 50g pasta per person if there was an accompaniment or plenty of ingredients padding it out.

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With thanks to Ragu for samples of pasta bake sauce which no doubt will reappear here in the next couple of weeks. Say hi to them on Twitter @raguUK.

With thanks also to Boursin for the now diminishing soft cheese mountain. Say hi to them on Twitter @boursincheese.

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