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, by using quinoa pasta you’re adding more goodness and protein to your bowl and the dark leafy greens pack an almighty antioxidant, calcium and iron punch. An energy- fuelled, immune-boosting bowl of cosy pasta is a win-win. Photography by Charlotte Kibbles
Serves 4 3 tbsp rapeseed oil 1 red onion, sliced 2 garlic cloves, minced 4 sage leaves, finely chopped 250g quinoa fusilli pasta 8 rashers of streaky bacon, chopped or 1 cup (200g) pancetta (optional) 2 × 400g tins plum tomatoes 125ml (1⁄2 cup) chicken or vegetable stock or water 5 cavolo nero leaves, thinly sliced 3 tbsp coconut yoghurt or cream (optional) 1⁄2 cup (50g) grated Cheddar (or dairy-free) cheese salt and pepper
Heat the oil in a large casserole dish and fry the onion, garlic and sage over medium heat for a couple of minutes. At this point, cook the pasta according to the packet instructions but take it off the heat a couple of minutes before its time is up (it will cook more in the oven). Drain well. Turn up the heat under the casserole and add the bacon, if using. Stir and cook for about 3–4 minutes, until the bacon is browned. Add the tomatoes and stock, crushing them as you stir with the back of a wooden spoon. Bring to the boil, rinse out the tins with a splash of water and add that to the pan too. If you’re not using bacon, season with salt and a big grind of black pepper. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes until the sauce has thickened slightly. Add the cavolo nero leaves and simmer for a further 2–3 minutes. Add the pasta to the sauce and mix really well. For a creamy version, add the coconut yoghurt or cream at this stage, and stir through. Top with the cheese. At this point, you could cover and refrigerate it until ready to cook. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas mark 4. Bake for 20 minutes, until the cheese, is melted and the pasta has crisp edges.