A vegetarian take on a favorite pasta dish. Filled with cauliflower and mushrooms, the final product is just as cozy as the traditional.
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 lb mushrooms, cleaned and finely chopped
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 small carrot, peeled and diced
- 6 garlic cloves, grated or minced
- 2 sprigs thyme, leaves stripped
- ¼ cup tomato paste
- ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 small head cauliflower, grated or chopped in food processor
- ¾ lb pasta (any shape!)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Fill a large pot with water for the pasta and let it come to a boil while you start the sauce.
- Heat oil in a large pan over medium-high heat.
- Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 4-6 minutes.
- Add onions and carrot and a ¼ teaspoon salt and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, for another 4 minutes or until onions are soft and just start to turn a light brown.
- Add garlic and thyme leaves and cook for an additional minute.
- Push everything to one side to allow for a clear space. If the pan looks dry, add a tiny bit more oil. Add tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes, until paste deepens in color and starts to smell a little toasty. Mix to combine with mushrooms and onions.
- Add cauliflower and oregano and stir well to combine. Reduce heat to medium-low, and stir every couple of minutes, while you boil pasta. It's okay if cauliflower starts to stick to the pan - it's building flavor!
- Cook pasta according to package instructions in heavily salted water, shaving about 2 minutes off the cook time. You want the pasta to be very al dente, but not dry on the inside when you bite into it. DO NOT DRAIN.
- Once pasta is cooked, increase heat under sauce to medium. Using tongs or a slotted spoon, transfer pasta to pan and stir to combine.
- Add 1 cup of pasta water, along with butter and half the cheese. Stir continuously until butter and cheese melt and pasta absorbs water. If pasta still looks a little dry, continue adding a tablespoon or two of pasta water at a time while stirring until it reaches your desired consistency.
- Add remaining cheese and toss to combine. Taste for seasoning (the pasta water and cheese is salty!) and adjust as needed.
- Serve with MORE parmesan, if desired (it's definitely desired).
Oh, I am so excited to share this recipe today!! Vegetarian bolognese has been on my list to make for almost a year, but I just never got around to it for some reason.
I've seen these recipes floating around for a while, and now that I barely hate mushrooms vs. despising them like I used to I was so ready to give vegetarian bolognese a try. One could argue that you can try this without mushrooms, but I do think the texture they give is key here.
While there is a lot of flavor building, and chopping (or processing!) things into tiny pieces, I consider this a pretty easy dish to put together. It's also fast! So much faster than your traditional meat-filled bolognese, which I think means you can have a pretty fancy pasta dinner on a Tuesday.