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Ninja Foodi pasta bake

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I love using my Ninja Foodi to make fast and delicious meals for my family. This Ninja Foodi pasta bake is a really simple recipe, and it uses a jarred sauce. Often I’ll make my own sauces, such as roasted tomato pizza sauce, but some nights you just want a quick and easy dinner with minimum fuss. This recipe will be using a Ninja Foodi with the air fryer setting.

Pasta bake is really simple. You just need dried pasta, a jar of your favourite pasta bake sauce (I love this Homepride one) and then some cheddar cheese for the top. My recipe here is based on using a jar of sauce, but do scroll down near the end if you want some tips on making your own homemade pasta bake sauce, what pasta works best and the cheeses that I love to use.

I’m a big fan of my Ninja Foodi. I am fortunate to have both a double air fryer model, the AF400UK, and a multi-cooker, the OL750UK. I love being able to cook large meals for my family, and knowing that I can save a little time in the process too. Perfect for us busy people!

On a super rare occasion I’ll make this using fresh pasta and homemade sauce, but mostly I want this to be a low cost, low effort and quick meal for our family after a busy day. It’s ideal for those nights when you’ve not planned anything but still want something that will fill everyone up on a budget.

If you are a smaller household, then you can easily make a 1–2 person portion and don’t have to heat up the whole oven just to make a small meal.

When you want to bulk this meal out a little bit I recommend serving with a delicious, home-made garlic bread. You can also add some nice vegetables on the side too, I like to make this air fryer corn on the cob.

Cooking meals in my Ninja Foodi is really convenient for me as it sits on the worktop and I don’t have to bend down to use the oven. This is perfect both for my own chronic health conditions and also because I have a toddler and a puppy running around under my feet most of the time.

What I love about pasta bake is really just how convenient it is. Most of the ingredients you can keep in your store cupboard or pantry and they will last absolutely months. I also like to cook a pasta bake in advance and then divide it up into storage containers for a super simple and tasty lunch for myself and my husband.

You can enjoy the leftovers of this pasta bake cold or reheat them in the microwave. It makes a fantastic lunch when you don’t have access to a microwave as well.

I also love to use my Ninja Foodi multi-cooker to make a pressure cooker cajun chicken pasta. This is delicious turned into a pasta bake too.

A bowl of cooked pasta bake made in the Ninja Foodi.

Ingredients for Ninja Foodi pasta bake:

200g pasta of your choice

300g pasta bake sauce of your choice

40g cheddar cheese 

How to make pasta bake in a Ninja Foodi:

Add your dry pasta to boiling salted water and cook until it is al dente. Aim to cook it for 2-3 minutes fewer than is quoted on the back of the packet. For me I found 7-8 minutes perfect for the pasta that I used (conchigle).

Drain the pasta.

Add your pasta bake sauce to the al dente pasta.

Stir.

Place into a dish that will fit into your Ninja Foodi and is suitable for the temperatures reached during air frying.

Air fry at 160C (320F approx) for 8 minutes.

Mix well.

Add the 40g of grated cheddar cheese to the top of the dish.

Air fry at 200C (390F) for 3-4 minutes.

Check it is piping hot and the cheese has melted.

Serve with your favourite sides and enjoy.

Ninja Kebab Stand, Ninja sling, Ninja mini muffin tray

Can you make pasta bake without boiling pasta?

Yes, although it doesn’t work well in the Ninja Foodi or air fryer. I would recommend using the oven for this, as I found that the air fryer/Ninja Foodi left some burnt edges when I tried making it without boiling the pasta first.

If you want to skip the boiling step then I’d recommend using fresh pasta. It IS more expensive, but it will save on some of the time and effort.

What is the best pasta for pasta bake? 

For me I find pasta with deep ridges or areas great for pasta bake, as the sauce can collect in them. Conchigle (pictured) is my favourite. I do also love penne and rigatoni too.

Rigatoni is my go to pasta for creamy or cheesy pasta bake dishes and conchigle for tomato and creamy tomato based ones.

If you’re shopping with a limited budget then the basic or value penne that most UK supermarkets sell is fantastic too.

Use what you have to hand. If this is farfalle, fusilli, pappardelle, orochiette or macaroni they will still work great and taste delicious. Personally I would skip spaghetti, linguini or similar as they just don’t work well for pasta bakes.

A cooked whole chicken

What is the best cheese for the top of a pasta bake?

A mature or sharp cheddar is one of my favourites, usually rated 4-5, on the flavour profile. As this is what I tend to have on hand at home.

If you’re on a budget, or not a fan of strong cheese, then mozzarella works great too. Perfect for getting a fantastic cheese pull.

In the past I’ve tried all sorts of cheese, with great results, including red Leicester, flavoured cheddar such as Marmite or Chilli and Lancashire too. All have worked great and brought something a little different to the overall flavour of the pasta bake.

Looking to bulk your pasta bake out a little?

If you want to up the protein, or make this just feel a little more substantial, then you can add chicken breast or thigh fillets, pepperoni, salami, ham, bacon (lardons are great), turkey or beef mince, Quorn pieces or tofu. Just make sure that your meat or meat replacement is already cooked before adding to the pasta once it’s been drained and has the sauce added.

Tons of vegetables work great in pasta bake and some of our favourites are red or white onions, red or yellow peppers, peas, mushrooms, spinach or kale, cherry tomatoes and courgettes. You can add anything you want but these all work great. I love to prepare vegetables in advance by par boiling or frying gently and then freezing flat on a baking tray.

You can serve a tasty side salad of choice alongside this and my Vegan coleslaw recipe would work great too.

Two brioche buns filled with BBQ Ninja Foodi pulled pork and coleslaw

Want to bring a bit more flavour to your dish?

You can use a shop bought seasoning blend, or make one yourself. I’ve got some great homemade seasonings:

Why not try some of these delicious side dishes alongside your pasta bake:

Four coated chicken wings cooked in the Ninja Foodi on air crisp / fry mode

How to cook pasta bake in your Ninja Foodi: 

Ninja Foodi pasta bake

Method to make a simple pasta bake in the Ninja Foodi in just 20 minutes.

Course Main Course
Cuisine British
Keyword cheese, Ninja Foodi, pasta
Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 19 minutes
Servings 2 servings
Calories 615 kcal
Author Katykicker

Ingredients

  • 200 g pasta of your choice
  • 300 g pasta bake sauce of your choice
  • 40 g cheddar cheese

Instructions

  1. Add your dry pasta to boiling salted water and cook until it is al dente. Aim to cook it for 2-3 minutes fewer than is quoted on the back of the packet. For me I found 7-8 minutes perfect for the pasta that I used (conchigle).
  2. Drain the pasta.
  3. Add your pasta bake sauce to the al dente pasta.
  4. Stir.
  5. Place into a dish that will fit into your Ninja Foodi and is suitable for the temperatures reached during air frying.
  6. Air fry at 160C (320F approx) for 8 minutes.
  7. Mix well.
  8. Add the 40g of grated cheddar cheese to the top of the dish.
  9. Air fry at 200C (390F) for 3-4 minutes.

  10. Check it is piping hot and the cheese has melted.
  11. Serve with your favourite sides and enjoy.

Note: All calorie information is for demonstration purposes only and is based on the specific uncooked ingredients that I used when creating the recipe.

If you enjoyed this post I’d love it if you could pin it on Pinterest!

A bowl of cooked pasta bake made in the Ninja Foodi.
Recipe Rating




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Jan hawkins

Monday 3rd of July 2023

Sounds great. X

katykicker

Tuesday 4th of July 2023

Thank you! x

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