We love to experiment with pasta bake recipes because they’re not only good, wholesome comfort foods in winter; they’re also easy to play around with. And, you can also make enough so that you can either portion it out and save some for another time, or you can reheat leftovers the day after for a tasty lunch…and quite often, it tastes so much better the day after.
Often with pasta bake recipes, like lasagne, they’re topped in a bechamel cheese sauce and, much as we love our bechamel toppings, they can end up piling on the calories to what would otherwise be lighter meal. But we play with toppings, too, such as the crunchy topping in our tuna and aubergine pasta bake recipe – and for this pasta bake recipe, today, we’ve got another different topping for you: yoghurt.
We’ve known this recipe for a long time but have only recently revitalised it – as we live in Turkey and yoghurt is a staple in the Turkish fridge, I’m not sure what’s took us so long to remember about it – but at least it’s back in our repertoire again. It’s not a Turkish recipe but yoghurt is most definitely a popular Turkish ingredient in savoury dishes, so there is a tenuous link.
Yoghurt-Topped Pasta Bake Recipe
So, let’s get cracking with making pasta bake with yoghurt topping. This recipe makes 3-4 large servings – or 6 smaller servings if you want to eat your pasta bake with a side salad and/or garlic bread.
And, first of all, we need to make a minced beef or minced lamb bolognese. Obviously, if you’re vegetarian, you can substitute the meat for your usual favourites.
- Finely chop one onion and gently sauté it in a glug of olive oil in a large pan.
- After a couple of minutes or so, add 300g of minced beef or lamb.
- Stir around to stop the meat sticking together in clumps and, as it starts to brown, grate two cloves of garlic and add that to the meat.
- Now add a sprinkling of kekik (dried oregano or thyme) and chilli flakes (optional).
- Stir those round, and, after 8-10 minutes, when the meat has fully browned, add a 400g tin of tomatoes. Fill the tin with water to about half way and add that, too.
- Add salt and pepper to taste and simmer on a low heat for around 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until your tomato sauce has reduced. You can add some tomato paste if you want to make your sauce more rich.
- Remove the pan from the heat and spoon your bolognese into the bowl you will use for your bake. We used 3 individual terracotta bowls, but one large lasagne dish or similar is okay to use.
- Once the meat has cooled add a layer of vegetables over the top. We used red pepper on this occasion but sliced tomato is fine, as are sliced courgettes or aubergine.
For The Yoghurt Topping
Rather than the pasta being in amongst your filling, for this pasta bake, the pasta is part of your topping, along with yoghurt. Let’s make the topping…
First of all, set 125g pasta boiling. As you can see in the photo, we used the flavoured pasta but plain pasta is fine. While your pasta is cooking…
- Put 500g of süzme yoghurt into a bowl (this is the thick Turkish yoghurt – but, if you can’t get it, Greek natural yoghurt will do the same job).
- Crack two eggs into the yoghurt.
- At this stage, we add some chilli flakes, too, but you can leave it plain or add some other spices you might like.
- Mix it all up into a smooth paste.
- Preheat your oven to 180 degrees.
- Once your pasta is cooked, drain it and run it under cold water to cool a little.
- Now add it to the yoghurt and stir it all up.
Take your yoghurt and pasta mixture and carefully spoon it all over your peppers (or whatever vegetable you used) until the mixure is finished. Place your dish (or dishes) onto the middle shelf of your preheated oven for around 25 minutes or until you can see the topping has gone golden brown.
And when the topping has gone golden brown, you can take your pasta bake out and allow it to cool a little before you delve in.
- If you use aubergine or courgette as a layer between your meat and topping, try drizzling each slice with olive oil first and grilling them for a few minutes before you add them to your dish.
- If you’re wondering about the yoghurt topping, don’t worry, it does set.