From our resident food blogger, Laura Ford

Nothing beats a pasta bake on a cold night and this Bolognese is sure to be a hit with the whole family. It’s packed with plenty of vegetables that make it higher in fibre, vitamins and minerals while the hidden nuggets of bocconcini make for a gooey cheesy surprise. This sauce also freezes really well and any leftovers can be easily stored for a quick meal.

3 tbsp. Australian extra virgin olive oil
1 red onion, finely chopped
2 sticks celery, finely chopped
2 carrots, grated
1 zucchini, grated
3 cloves garlic, crushed
400g mushrooms
500g beef mince
6 tbsp. tomato paste
3 x 400g tinned whole tomatoes
1 sprig rosemary
2 bay leaves
400g dried rigatoni pasta
180g tub bocconcini, drained
1 tbsp. basil leaves
1 cup mozzarella cheese
1 tbsp. mixed dried herbs

1. Heat olive oil in a pan on medium heat and add onion. Cook for 1 minute until onion is slightly softened. Add celery, carrot and zucchini and increase heat to medium-high and cook for a further 6-8 minutes until the vegetables are well cooked and soft.
2. Add garlic and mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes.
3. Add beef mince and cook for 5-7 minutes until beef is cooked.

4. Add tomato paste and cook for 3 minutes. Season with salt, pepper, rosemary and bay leaves. Add the tinned tomatoes plus an additional cup of water and simmer until the sauce is thick and rich (about 20-30 minutes). Preheat the oven to 180C degrees.
5. While the sauce is simmering, prepare the pasta by bringing a large pot of water to the boil and add 1⁄2 tsp salt. Add pasta to the water and cook until just cooked (but not too soft). Drain the pasta and mix through the Bolognese sauce.

6. Pour pasta into a casserole dish and distribute bocconcini evenly throughout. Cover with mozzarella cheese and top with mixed dried herbs.
7. Bake in preheated oven uncovered for 30-45 minutes until the cheese golden brown.
8. Allow to cool slightly in the tray for 5 -10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

> For more recipes from the Bonds blog, click here.

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