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Cauliflower and bacon ‘mince-free’ bolognaise

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Recipe may contain gluten and milk.

Want a bolognaise without mince? This umami pasta sauce is packed with bacon for flavour and cauliflower for texture, for a sneakily vegetable-loaded dinner idea.

12 Ingredients


  • 1 small (about 570g) cauliflower, coarsely chopped

  • 60ml (1/4 cup) olive oil, plus extra, to serve

  • 100g streaky bacon, finely chopped

  • 1 brown onion, finely chopped

  • 1 carrot, peeled, coarsely grated

  • 1 ⁄3 bunch fresh continental parsley, stems and leaves separated, stems finely chopped

  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed

  • 90g (1/3 cup) tomato paste

  • 80ml (1/3 cup) red wine

  • 500g jar tomato pasta sauce

  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano leaves

  • 500g dried spaghetti pasta

3 Method Steps


  • Step 1

    Process half the cauliflower

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    (1 small (about 570g) cauliflower, coarsely chopped) until finely chopped. Transfer to a bowl. Repeat with remaining cauliflower. Heat the oil (60ml (1/4 cup) olive oil, plus extra, to serve) in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the bacon (100g streaky bacon, finely chopped), onion (1 brown onion, finely chopped), carrot (1 carrot, peeled, coarsely grated), parsley stems and (1 ⁄3 bunch fresh continental parsley, stems and leaves separated, stems finely chopped) garlic (3 garlic cloves, crushed). Cook, stirring, for 8 minutes or until softened. Add tomato paste (90g (1/3 cup) tomato paste). Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add cauliflower and cook, stirring, for 10 minutes or until softened.


  • Step 2

    Add wine (80ml (1/3 cup) red wine) to the pan and simmer for 2 minutes or until evaporated. Add pasta sauce (500g jar tomato pasta sauce), 80ml (1 ⁄3 cup) water and oregano (1/2 tsp dried oregano leaves). Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, covered, stirring occasionally, for 25 minutes or until flavours have developed.

  • Step 3

    Cook pasta (500g dried spaghetti pasta) in a large saucepan of salted boiling water until al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup liquid. Add pasta, reserved liquid and parmesan to sauce. Cook, tossing, for 1 minute or until well combined. Divide among serving bowls. Top with parsley leaves, sprinkle with extra parmesan and drizzle with extra oil. Serve.
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Recipe Notes

Waste-free tip: Don’t throw away the onion scraps and carrot peel. Store vegie scraps (such as onion, leek, carrot, celery, garlic, ginger, fennel, mushroom) in a sealable bag in the freezer. Once you’ve built up a good supply of frozen scraps, you can turn them into delicious stock.

Nutritional Information

Per serving

  • 592

  • 2479 kj

  • 21.8g

  • 5.8g

  • 8.3g

  • 20.7g

  • 71.6g

All quantities above are averages

Image by Brett Stevens

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