Now, I make my pasta sauce from scratch; if you prefer to use some out of a jar, I won’t judge. Also, here in my small town, we do not get all the ingredients necessary for cooking worldwide, so I innovate and use my imagination a lot of the time.
Amazing Baked Penne With Minced Lamb in a Herb Tomato Sauce
- 7 medium tomatoes - ripe
- 1 handful garlic - roughly chopped
- 2 medium red onion
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 250 grams ground lamb (minced lamb)
- 1 pinch dried rosemary
- 1 pinch dried thyme
- 2 tablespoons dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
- 1 pinch cumin
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 pinch salt
- 4 cups water
- 250 grams penne pasta
- Cook the penne according to package instructions.
- Brown the minced lamb in a frying pan in olive oil. Keep aside.
- Make a cross-shaped score on each tomato, blanch it in hot water for under a minute, and then plunge in cold water and peel off the skin. Place in a mixer/blender and pulse to as rough or smooth a paste as you prefer. I went for the smooth variety here.
- Peel and chop the garlic and stir. Getthe same pan that you fried the meat in and add more oil. Be sure to add the garlic before the oil gets hot or it will burn. I know it seems like a lot of garlic, but I promise it is worth it.
- Add the finely chopped onions once the oil gets hot, and the garlic starts to sizzle. Stir until soft.
- Add the tomato paste you prepared and start building flavour by adding salt, sugar, thyme, rosemary and pepper. Add half the quantity of oregano. Stir well, cover and cook on very low flame, checking every 10-15 minutes.
- The water will have evaporated some, and you will be left with a thicker sauce; taste it again and add salt or sugar as you see fit. I also add just a pinch of chilli powder and turmeric powder (it may be just the Indian in me, but I think this brings out the colour and flavour). You can also add the cumin at this stage. Add remaining oregano.
- Keep checking the sauce and adding water so the sauce will not catch and burn. Cook it covered for 1 1/2 hours.
- At the 1 and half-hour mark, add the browned off meat to the sauce, add more water, and cover and cook for the last half hour.
- When the sauce is cooking for the last 15 minutes, you can boil the pasta in well-salted boiling water. Add a few drops of oil to the water as well. Follow cooking instructions on the packet.
- Before turning off the flame, add a small knob of butter for flavour.
- Combine the pasta with the now meaty sauce and add to an oven-safe dish. Layer on top with cheese. Sprinkle with chilli flakes and bake at 180 degrees Celsius until the cheese is melted and yummy!
- Serve straight out of the oven and enjoy!