Don’t be alarmed by the long ingredients list. I find this meal is best made in batches! I often cook up 2kg of lean mince at a time (that is 4 x the recipe below!!) and freeze it in takeaway portions. Getting about 8 meals for my partner and I. When that is done this meal is super easy to put together. Just heat up your Bolognese sauce, mix with the white sauce and pasta and bake!
The freezer is your best friend when it comes to meal prepping!
Bolognese Pasta Bake
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 brown onion finely chopped
- 2 stalks celery finely chopped
- 2 large carrots grated
- 1 large zucchini grated
- 500 g lean mince
- 2 x 400g crushed tomatoes
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar or red wine
- 1 tsp brown sugar optional
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 1-2 tsp basil fresh or dried
- Salt and pepper
- 50 g butter
- 3 tbsp plain flour
- 2 cups milk
- 1 ½ cups cheddar or mozzarella grated
- ½ cup parmesan
- 500 g penne pasta
- First prepare the Bolognese sauce to allow the flavours to develop. As I said above, I often make this ahead of time in big batches!!
- Add the onion, celery, zucchini and carrot to the bowl of a food processor. Process on high for 3-4 min until it is all minced! If you don’t have a big food processor do this in batches, or alternatively chop and grate the veggies by hand!
- Heat the oil in a large heavy based saucepan. Then add in the vegetable mix and cook off for 5-7 mins on a medium heat. Then add in the mince, and allow it to brown slightly. This should take about 3-4 mins. Then stir through the crushed tomatoes, tomatoes paste, balsamic vinegar, sugar, herbs and salt and pepper. Bring to the boil and then allow to simmer on low heat while you prepare the rest of the bake.
- To make the white sauce melt the butter in a saucepan and then stir in the flour allowing it to come together in a thick paste. Then gradually whisk in the milk whisking continuously until it is all added. Season with salt and pepper and mix in 1 cup of cheddar or mozzarella. Whisk the sauce to bring it all together until it starts to form a thick white sauce. It should coat the back of a spoon.
- Cook the pasta as per packet instructions and then drain.
- Preheat the oven to 180Tip in half pasta into a large lasagne dish. Then spoon on Bolognese and white sauce gently mixing it. Add in the remaining pasta, more Bolognese and white sauce and again mix gently until all of the pasta is coated. Top with remaining cheddar and parmesan cheese.
- Bake in the oven for 40-50mins until golden brown!