Do you remember those cheese and tomato pasta salad pots in Tesco? Before I was gluten free, this was my ultimate cheap snack on the go for years. I must have eaten hundreds of them back in the days… without knowing I was slowly destroying my insides, of course. 😉
Not that it’s a culinary masterpiece lol – supermarket ready made food is notoriously bland – but it was decent and always beat an overpriced, tasteless, nutritionally void sandwich in my books.
Luckily it’s super easy to make at home anyway and it tastes much better. The gluten free life just requires a bit more planning ahead I guess!
Overall I really enjoy this simple dish. I think it’s a great quick meal and packed lunch option that tastes delicious and is seriously low effort.
And for a bit more sustenance, I like to throw an egg or two on top. 🙂
- 150g pasta (dry weight) (I used gluten free penne)
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 small onion (I used a red onion)
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 + ½ tsp dried basil
- ½ tsp dried oregano
- 2 Tbsp tomato purée (+ 4 Tbsp water)
- A dash of salt
- A dash of black pepper
- 50g extra mature cheddar cheese
- Lemon juice (half of a lemon)
HOW TO COOK THE PASTA PERFECTLY:
- Bring a large pan of water to boil (with a generous dash of salt).
- Once the water reaches boiling point, add the pasta and stir to prevent them from sticking together. Note: DO NOT add the pasta to cold water, it HAS to reach boiling point first.
- Then stir occasionally.
- Roughly follow the cooking time on your pasta packet (it differs from brand to brand), but the best way to know when it’s ready is to test the pasta from time to time near the end. For perfect al dente pasta that don’t turn to mush, don’t wait for it to be completely soft. It should still have a certain firmness to it. 🙂
- Drain the pasta in a colander and set aside.
MAKE THE CHEESE AND TOMATO PASTA SAUCE:
- Chop the onion and garlic very finely.
- Heat up a tablespoon of olive oil in a pan on low heat. I used the same pan I used for the pasta, to save on dishwashing time. 😉
- Add the onion and garlic and pan fry briefly until fragrant.
- Then add the basil, oregano, salt and black pepper and fry for a few minutes more.
- Turn the heat off and add the tomato purée along with 4 tablespoons of water to dilute it a bit and make it slightly runny. You can add a bit more if necessary.
- Add the freshly squeezed lemon juice.
- Carefully stir in the pasta.
- Once your pasta has cooled down a bit, stir in 50g of grated cheese.
Hope you like it. 🙂