This recipe is our family favourite. It is a simple bolognese; yet leave out the mince and you have an equally tasty vegetarian pasta. Kids love it and it can be blended easily for babies. We have it once a week in our household!
For vegetarian option – leave out mince. Triple mushrooms and double courgette and carrot. Substitute vegetable stock cubes for chicken/beef.
For babies leave out the stock cubes and salt.
If your children don’t like vegetables, puree the vegetables and they can’t be seen!
Feeds 6 adults (or you can freeze the left overs for an easy/quick meal later.)
See the end of the post for tips when cooking pasta.
500 grams Minced Beef
600 milliliters Passata
1 large Onion
5 large Mushrooms
1 medium Courgette (Zucchini)
1 medium Carrot
1 large Garlic Clove
2 medium Bay Leaves
handful Fresh Thyme
small sprig Fresh Rosemary
handful Fresh Marjoram
2 tablespoons Fresh Parsley (or use from a jar or tube from the shops!)
1 tablespoon Butter
(You can substitute dried herbs or a simple shop -bought dried italian herb mix)
1 Chicken Stock Cube
1 Beef Stock Cube (using 2 beef stock cubes gives too ‘heavy’ a flavour for me)
1 kilogram Spaghetti.
(Sounds like a lot, but I freeze the left over cooked spaghetti in portions – can be used as quick pasta meals for the kids when you don’t have much time)
for garnish Your favourite cheese. I use a strong cheddar of parmesan.
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Sugar (tomato can be very acidic. This helps cut that down.)
- Put on a large pot of water to boil.
- Put oil in a pan to heat.
- In a blender, finely chop the mushrooms, onion, garlic, marjoram, rosemary and thyme leaves. I blend until it is a puree. Makes a better sauce I find!
- Add the mushroom and onion mix to the warm pan.
- Add the whole bay leaves.
- Saute until soft. About 3-4 minutes.
- Add the pasta to the now boiling water.
- Add the mince and crushed stock cubes to the mushroom mix.
- Cook until it begins to colour but do not brown.
- Add the passata.
(tip – if you add the passata before the mince is browned, it makes a smoother sauce.)
- Stir and simmer on med/low heat for 10 minutes.
- Whilst this is simmering, grate (or finely chop in blender) carrot and courgette.
- Once the 10 minutes are up, add to the mince mix.
- Continue simmering for a further 5 minutes.
- Add the salt and sugar. Stir. Taste. Adjust seasoning if required.
- Once the spaghetti is cooked, drain and toss back into the warm pot with the parsley and butter. Stir to combine.
- Serve and enjoy.
Tips When Cooking Pasta
- Always cook pasta in lots of boiling water. Add salt for added flavour if desired.
- Stir to the boil and do not overcook.
- If the pasta is not to be used immediately, refresh and reheat carefully in hot water when required.
- Allow 50 grams dried pasta per person for a main portion.