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Vegetarian Bolognese

Dinner, Healthy, Pasta, Quick and Easy, Summer, Vegetarian

This Vegetarian Bolognese is full of hearty vegetables that cook down into a rich sauce very similar to the meat filled version. It’s a perfect replacement for the classic over pasta or gnocchi. Of course this isn’t traditional “bolognese”; instead it’s a vegan and vegetarian version that is so flexible depending on what vegetables you might have on hand!

Vegetarian Bolognese

I spent the weekend celebrating my mama’s birthday and took her to see The Waitress—which was SO good. I loved the movie but the play was WAY better so I highly recommend if it comes to your town.

Let’s talk cauliflower gnochhi. I’ve been seeing it all over the internets lately so I wanted to give it a try. I was stunned that they were so delicious!

I’ve now been keeping a bag or two in the freezer and it’s great to have on hand when you need a quick meal.

This late summer veggie “bolognese” is my favorite. It’s so good and fresh and light. This makes a decent size batch and it’s totally great to freeze so you can use it later. I used to be pretty lukewarm on the freezer but it’s recently become my best friend.

How to Make Vegetarian Bolognese:

  1. Prep the veggies. The texture we want with the vegetables is as close to ground meat as we can get, so I like to chop each vegetable with a food processor to get it that fine. If you don’t have a food processor just use a knife to chop up the vegetables as fine as you can get them.
  2. Cook the veggies. Cook the veggies in batches until they’ve softened significantly and have sweated out all their liquid. Salting the mushrooms early can make them waterlogged, so wait until this step to salt them.
  3. Add everything else and simmer. Once the veggies are cooked, add the tomatoes with the spices and cheese and simmer just enough to get the canned flavor out of the tomatoes. Taste and add salt if needed then serve over whatever you’d like!

How to Freeze Vegetarian Bolognese Sauce:

  • It’s very easy to freeze this sauce. Just let it cool completely then place in a freezer safe bag (I like to freeze it flat on a baking sheet first so it’s easier to store). Once it’s frozen, remove the baking sheet.

Vegetarian Bolognese

Tips and Tricks:

  • This is a perfect make-ahead meal! The sauce will last for a few days at least, tightly sealed in the fridge.
  • If you wanted to use other vegetables that you have on hand that’s fine! I will say that the only vegetables that can’t be swapped out are the mushrooms, they give the sauce that hearty meat like base that makes a bolognese.

Vegetarian Bolognese

Vegetarian Bolognese Recipe

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5 from 6 votes
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Serving Size: 2
Calories: 67kcal
This Vegetarian Bolognese recipe is full of hearty vegetables that cook down into a rich sauce very similar to the meat filled version. It's a perfect replacement for the classic over pasta or gnocchi.

Ingredients

  • 1 small yellow onion, peeled and minced
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and minced
  • 8 ounces cremini mushrooms
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 red bell pepper, stem and seeds removed
  • 1 (26-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan-Reggiano, plus more as garnish
  • 1 pound of cauliflower gnocchi OR regular gnocchi

Directions

  • Pull out your food processor. If you don’t have one, you can just minced everything with a knife. But I do love the fine mince that is provided by the food processor because it makes it almost “ground.” Add the onion and garlic and pulse until diced. Repeat with the carrot, cremini mushrooms, zucchini and red bell pepper.
  • In a medium Dutch oven, set over medium-low heat, add the olive oil. When warm, add the minced onion, garlic and carrot; cook until softened about 10 minutes.
  • Then add the mushrooms, zucchini and red bell pepper, adding a few tablespoons of olive oil if needed (I needed it). Cook, stirring frequently, until liquid has released from the vegetables and evaporates and they’re totally softened, 15 to 20 minutes. Pour in the crushed tomatoes, water, salt, dried oregano, red pepper flakes and finely grated Parmesan. Cook for an additional 10 minutes, just until the flavors have married together. Give it a taste and adjust the salt to your liking. Turn the flame to low to keep warm while you cook the gnocchi.
  • To cook the cauliflower gnocchi, add a tablespoon of olive oil to a non-stick skillet. When warm, add the gnocchi and cook for about 2 minutes on each side, until lightly golden brown. Add a ladle or two of the sauce and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Divide amongst bowls and top with another spoonful of “bolognese.” Garnish with parmesan cheese, basil leaves, more crushed red pepper…if you’re into that sort of thing.
  • You’ll end up with leftover ‘bolognese’—good! This freezes so well. Add to a freezer-safe container and place in the freezer. To thaw, transfer to the fridge or leave out on the counter.
CourseDinner
CuisineItalian
Keywordbolognese, vegan pasta, vegetarian
Serving: 2g | Calories: 67kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 2345mg | Potassium: 907mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 2059IU | Vitamin C: 95mg | Calcium: 44mg | Iron: 1mg
Did you make this Recipe? Tag me Today!Tag @acozykitchen on Instagram and hashtag it #acozykitchen

Did you make this recipe? Let me know on Instagram!

Looking for more vegetarian recipes? here are some of my favorites:

 

Ramp Pasta

Pasta, Quick and Easy, Summer

RAMPS! So very seasonal! Their seasonality is sort of dramatic. Especially here in Los Angeles where ramps don’t grow locally.

Most ramps you’ll find in LA are from the Pacific Northwest because they need like forest-y type of terrain and they need a lot of rain and water.

They’re a spring time produce and they’re so delicious. They’re really good with so many things.

A few years ago was the first time I tried a ramp and I was, like, what is all the fuss about?!?! Well, if you’ve never had them I’ll describe them like this:

Think very garlicky but without the spice. They’re a very smooth flavor but strong. It’s hard to describe but they’re really just this delicious garlicky/onion-y type flavor but don’t feel intense or bitter or sharp. It’s smooth AF.

This meal obviously could be made without the ramps. This is a classic cacio e pepe pasta. Cacio e pepe is super easy to make. It’s all about technique tho and really the most important thing in this recipe is the pasta water and the black pepper and cheese.

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Cacio e Pepe Macaroni and Cheese

Dinner, Pasta, Quick and Easy, Thanksgiving, The Holidays, Winter

This Cacio e Pepe Macaroni and Cheese recipe is inspired by the classic Italian pasta, Cacio e Pepe. This has ground up toasted black peppercorns, lots of Parmesan mixed into a cheesy sauce that thickly coats your favorite pasta!

Cacio e Pepe Macaroni and Cheese

In my brain a few weeks ago, I was craving cacio e pepe but I also wanted it to be cheesy. Cacio e pepe enthusiasts and purists will scoff at this recipe but the rest of us who love cheesy cheese and black pepper, will love it. I can’t win them all.

What is Cacio e Pepe?

Cacio e Pepe is a pasta Roman dish that literally translates to “cheese and pasta.” It consists of simple ingredients: Pecorino-Romano, black peppercorns and pasta. It’s a truly simple dish but it requires technique and a bit of skill to nail.

This is the quickest weeknight meal and it’s also delicious to serve people on the weekends when you want something chill that will make everyone smile.

How to Make this Cacio e Pepe Macaroni and Cheese

  1. Toast the peppercorns. And then transfer them to a mortar and pestle (or you could use a spice blender) and grind them up into small grounds.
  2. Cook the pasta. I used cavatappi. But you could use whatever shape you like! I like to cook it a minute or two under.
  3. Make the roux. Melt the butter and add the flour. And then, when everything is combined, you pour in the milk.
  4. Thicken the roux. When the roux is has thickened, you add the cheese. As a result, the sauce will become all delicious and cheesy.
  5. Add the black pepper. This is the “cacio” part.
  6. Mix in the pasta. And then, add the pasta. Give it a nice stir so the pasta is evenly coated in the sauce.
  7. Top it with more black pepper, Pecorino and serve! 

Cacio e Pepe Macaroni and Cheese

Cacio e Pepe Macaroni and Cheese

If you make this Cacio e Pepe Macaroni and Cheese, let me know on Instagram! 

Cacio e Pepe Macaroni and Cheese Recipe

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5 from 1 vote
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Serving Size: 4
Calories: 402kcal
This macaroni and cheese recipe is inspired by the classic Italian pasta, Cacio e Pepe. This has ground up toasted black peppercorns, lots of Parmesan mixed into a cheesy sauce that thickly coats pasta.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 1 pound cavatappi or pasta of choice
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 3 ounces Parmesan-Reggiano, finely grated
  • Kosher salt

Directions

To Toast the Peppercorns:

  • In a small skillet, set over medium heat, add the peppercorns and toast for about 3 to 4 minutes, until fragrant. Transfer them to a mortar and pestle and grind them until they’re pulverized. If you don’t own a mortar and pestle, no worries! You can transfer them to a cutting board and smash them with the bottom of a clean pan. You can also use a large chef’s knife. Set the crushed peppercorns aside.

To Make the Macaroni and Cheese:

  • Bring a pot or Dutch oven of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta until al dente (my pasta took about 7 minutes). Reserve about a cup of pasta water. I usually scoop it out with a dry cup measure. Drain the pasta and drizzle with a teeny bit of olive oil (this will prohibit them from sticking to each other).
  • In a medium saucepan or Dutch oven, set over medium heat, melt the butter. When the butter has melted, add the flour and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Pour in the milk and bring to a simmer; cook until it’s thickened, about 3 to 5 minutes. It should coat the back of a spoon. Turn off the heat and allow to cool for about 2 minutes.
  • Next, add the mozzarella, Parmesan-Reggiani and a few generous pinches of black pepper. If needed, turn the heat to medium-low to completely melt the cheese. Give it a taste and add salt to taste (I ended up adding about 1/2 teaspoon of salt but this will really depend on the salt content in the cheeses you’re using).
  • Stir in the pasta and add some more black pepper if you like. Toss until evenly coated. Mix in about a 1/4 cup of pasta water. This will give it a bit of a creamier consistency. Add a bit more if you like. I ended up adding about a 1/2 cup of pasta water in total. Divide amongst bowls and top with a bit more black pepper as garnish.
CourseDinner
CuisineAmerican, Italian
Keywordbaked macaroni and cheese, cacio e pepe, what is cacio e pepe
Serving: 4g | Calories: 402kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 30g | Saturated Fat: 18g | Cholesterol: 86mg | Sodium: 257mg | Potassium: 308mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 1024IU | Calcium: 364mg | Iron: 1mg
Did you make this Recipe? Tag me Today!Tag @acozykitchen on Instagram and hashtag it #acozykitchen

Looking for more pasta recipes? Here are some of my favorites:

Meatball Pasta Bake

Dinner, Fall, Pasta, Quick and Easy, Winter

With mini meatballs tucked away in gooey cheese and saucy pasta this meatball pasta bake is an ultimate comfort food for any night of the week. Who doesn’t love a cheesy baked pasta with meatballs?

Meatball Pasta Bake

Do you like Instagram recipes? I always thought no one would ever make a recipe from a caption but that’s not true. I find that people actually save the recipes and make them. It blows my mind because I personally can’t imagine cooking from a caption—they’re so small. But maybe I’m just wrong?

Anyway, this recipe. Mini little meatballs are rolled and put on top of orecheitte and the entire thing is topped with cheese. It’s not baked for a super long time but it is so, so good. I love it so much.

I feel like I need to make more pasta bakes!!

Meatball Pasta Bake

 

How to Make a Meatball Pasta Bake:

  1. Portion out the meatballs. Combine all the meatball ingredients and use a small cookie scoop or a tablespoon to portion out the meatballs.
  2. Cook the meatballs. Brown the meatballs in a large skillet with a little bit of oil. Once they’re cooked remove them and set aside.
  3. Warm up the sauce. Heat up your favorite jar of marinara with some créme fraîche.
  4. Add the pasta. Once the pasta’s cooked, transfer it to the pan of sauce and stir to coat.
  5. Add meatballs and cheese. Place the meatballs all over the pasta then top with more cheese than you think you need.
  6. Bake! Let it bake up until the cheese is melted and bubbly. If you want some golden brown on there place it under the broiler for 1-2 minutes afterwards.

Ingredients for a Pasta Bake:

The great thing about a pasta bake is that you can switch up just a few ingredients to work with whatever you have in your pantry.

  • The meat: I used mini meatballs here but you could also brown some Italian sausage. grilled chicken could also work if you had that.
  • The sauce: Use whatever your favorite jar of sauce is, and doctor it up if needed. I added the créme fraîche because I like the extra bit of richness and tang it gives to the dish.
  • The Pasta: I used an orecchiette pasta here but any short pasta will do. Anything from a penne to a rigatoni would work in this dish.
  • The Cheese: I don’t think that anything besides mozzarella would work here because it’s so melty but if you wanted to you could use less mozzarella and finish it with burrata when it comes out of the oven.

Tips and Tricks:

  • You can freeze this! Just make the dish up until it needs to go into the oven. Transfer it to a freezer and oven safe pan and let cool before topping with the cheese and transferring it to the freezer. When you go to bake just be prepared to bake it for around 45 minutes to an hour for it to cook through from frozen.

Meatball Pasta Bake Recipe

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0 from 0 votes
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Serving Size: 5 Servings
Calories: 405kcal
Meatball pasta bake is one of those ultimate comforting dishes. Mini meatballs tucked away in gooey cheese and saucy pasta make this a comforting weeknight meal.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons Italian bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 pound ground beef, (90%/10%)
  • 1/4 cup finely shredded Parmesan
  • 1/4 yellow onion or red onion, grated
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 23-ounce jar of marinara or homemade
  • 4 ounces crème fraîche
  • 1 pound of pasta, I used orecchiette, cooked to al dente
  • 1 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella

Directions

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine the bread crumbs and milk. Allow to soak for 5 minutes. Add the ground beef, Parmesan, onion, garlic, dried oregano, salt, crushed red pepper and egg.
  • Mix until combined.
  • Using a tablespoon (or small cookie scoop—my favorite tool for meatballs), scoop out the meat mixture, forming meatballs using your palms. Repeat until you’ve worked through all of the meatball mixture.
  • In a medium skillet, set over medium heat, add the oil. When hot, cook the meatballs for 2 to 3 minutes, flipping them and cooking on the opposite side for an additional 4 minutes. Transfer the meatballs to a bowl. Pour the marinara into the skillet, along with the crème fraîche and stir until smooth. Cook until warmed, about 5 to 7 minutes, seasoning the marinara sauce to your liking (I added a bit of crushed red pepper and some additional salt).
  • To a large baking dish, add the cooked pasta, marinara sauce and toss until combined. Add meatballs atop the pasta and sprinkle with the mozzarella. Transfer to the oven to bake for 8 to 12 minutes, until cheese is nice and melty. Garnish with Italian parsley, if you like.

Notes

Tips:
  • You can freeze this! Just make the dish up until it needs to go into the oven. Transfer it to a freezer and oven safe pan and let cool before topping with the cheese and transferring it to the freezer. When you go to bake just be prepared to bake it for around 45 minutes to an hour for it to cook through from frozen.
Equipment:
Le Creuset Braiser | Food Processor | Chef's Knife
CourseDinner
CuisineAmerican
KeywordPasta Bake
Serving: 4g | Calories: 405kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 32g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Cholesterol: 99mg | Sodium: 663mg | Potassium: 323mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 390IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 200mg | Iron: 2mg
Did you make this Recipe? Tag me Today!Tag @acozykitchen on Instagram and hashtag it #acozykitchen

Did you make this recipe? Let me know on Instagram!

Looking for more pasta recipes? Here are some of my favorites:

Meatball Pasta Bake