2 cups/100g uncooked whole-wheat penne or pasta shells
1 tbsp plus 1 tsp olive oil, divided
5-6 garlic cloves, finely chopped or minced
250g baby spinach leaves, washed
1x 400g can of chopped tomatoes
1/4 tsp salt
2 green chillies, finely chopped (optional)
1 tsp dried oregano or any other fresh herbs washed and chopped
1 cup or 80g shredded low fat cheddar cheese
a few torn basil leaves, for garnish
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4.
In a large pot of boiling water, cook pasta according to package directions until al dente or firm to the teeth. This should take about 12 minutes. Rinse the pasta under cold water, drain and set aside.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a skillet or a saucepan pan over a medium heat. Add the garlic and stir until fragrant. Make sure the garlic doesn’t burn. Add the tomatoes and fry for a few minutes until the mixture becomes quite thick. Tip in the salt, chillies, if using, and the herbs and mix. Add the spinach and mix. Stir in half a cup of the grated cheese, leaving the remaining for later. Fold in the pasta.
Grease the bottom of a baking dish with the remaining 1 teaspoon of oil. Pour the tomato pasta mixture into the dish. Bake uncovered for 15 minutes, then remove from the oven and sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Bake until the cheese melts which should be about 4-5 minutes. Remove from the oven and let it stand for 5 minutes. Garnish with the basil before serving with a green salad.