It feels like only yesterday I was rejoicing in the heat of summer, wearing jeans shorts and contemplating getting a fan for my room. I did end up getting said fan, which is now packed away as I’m currently hiding underneath my soft blanket and contemplating getting some wooly socks. How times change.
I do love this time of year though. The air is fresh, it’s chillier but not too cold, and pumpkins start to pop up left, right and centre. Could not even ignore them if I wanted to, so I figured I might as well embrace it and create a dish that perfectly personifies what autumn is to me – a bowl of cozy, warming food that isn’t a faff to make. Low and behold, pumpkin bolognese was born.
I’m not usually a big pasta eater. Crazy, I know! Rice is more my jam, and I could probably eat it all day, everyday, and never get tired. In fact, growing up that is exactly what I did. With this creamy sauce pasta is more the way, and the macaroni just soaks up and loves the pumpkin bolognese.
I had leftovers the next day with some garlicky cooked courgetti (zoodles for the Americans) and it also matched beautifully, so I’ll trust your judgement which way you rather go. You could go with some rice too, you know – that’ll probably be my next pairing!
500g ground meat of choice (beef, turkey, or veggie quorn)
1 cup chestnut mushrooms, roughly chopped into small pieces
2 teaspoons oregano
1 teaspoon each of rosemary, paprika and chilli flakes
1 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
2 cloves of garlic, minced
¼ cup capers
¼ cup black olives, pips removed
1 can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)
1 can chopped tomatoes
2 cups bone or veggie broth
1 tablespoon tomato puree
1 tablespoon tamari or soy sauce
Salt and pepper, to taste
½ cup creme fraiche or natural yogurt
Butter, rapeseed, avocado or olive oil, for cooking
1 bunch of kale (I used tuscan kale, but curly would also work), leaves torn and stems discarded
½ tablespoon rapeseed or avocado oil
3 cloves of garlic, minced
Sprinkling of salt and pepper
450g (15.6 ounces) macaroni, cooked according to packaging instructions
Shaving of parmesan or Manchego cheese
Start by heating a glug of oil in a large saucepan. When hot, add your onions, mince, mushrooms and spices. Give a quick stir and let brown, stirring occasionally and keeping an eye not to burn. Remove onto a plate and return the pan to the heat.
Add the sun-dried tomatoes and their oil along with all remaining ingredients, except creme fraîche. Bring to a simmer and then, using an immersion blender, blend until creamy.
Return meat to the saucepan and mix with the sauce. Let simmer for 30 minutes to an hour, letting the flavour really develop.
Once sauce is almost done, make the crispy kale by tossing all the ingredients together in a tray and baking in a preheated oven at 175ºC / 350ºF for 10 minutes or until crisp but not burnt.
To serve, stir creme fraiche through the sauce and toss with the pasta, serve with grated cheese cheese and kale on the side to be sprinkled over the pasta
The mince stores well, so you can keep in the fridge to enjoy leftovers or freeze for rainy days.
VEGAN: use a walnut or quorn mince, or even sub for beans. Omit creme fraiche.
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Hi, I'm Teffy, a qualified Nutritionist and avid foodie. This blog is all about inspiring a balanced life through delicious and wholesome foods, with not a diet in sight. Healthy eating shouldn't be hard and stressful, it should be easy and fun - Working with my clients they are constantly amazed that yes, food can taste great AND be good for you!