Recipe: Pasta Bolognese

Pasta Bolognese is a family favourite in our house, but as someone trying to shed the extra poundage, it was always marred somewhat by feeling I had to cut back on pasta and watch how much meat I ate too. I could still have a nice meal, but I would feel a little jipped watching the rest of the family tuck in while I cut a little out here and there for my own plate.

Of course, on the Slimming World plan, you can eat pasta freely, and as long as the mince you use has less than 5% fat, you can eat as much as you want of that too. This meant I could finally enjoy this crowd-pleasing meal once again, and this time, guilt free!

Of course, it turns out my own recipe is chock full of speed food anyway, and as luck would have it, this meal is entirely syn free, making me feel even more virtuous. Not only that, it freezes well, so I can package up individual portions of it and just defrost it whenever I fancy some Bolognese, adding pasta when I heat it up again!

Key:
F = Free food (eat as much as you like)
S = Speed food (these should make up at least a third of your meal)
P = Protein free food (eat as much of these as you like!)
HEA = Healthy Extra A (a daily allowance of dairy produce)
# = a number denotes roughly how many syns are in foods used

11312636_10155506751745386_6943704958926812569_oPASTA BOLOGNESE
(quantities are generally as you like them – I promise it will work out and you can make as much or as little as you like!)

Ingredients:

  • Mince with a fat content of less than 5% / Quorn (P)
  • Passata or tinned tomatoes (S)
  • Onions (S)
  • Garlic (S)
  • Courgette (S)
  • Carrot (S)
  • Mushrooms (S)
  • Spinach (S)
  • Tomato puree (oil free) (F)
  • Balsamic vinegar (F)
  • Worcestershire sauce (F)
  • Low-cal spray oil (optional) (F)
  • Cayenne pepper (F)
  • Dried mixed herbs (F)
  • Sweetener (optional) (F)

For Serving:

  • Pasta (F)
  • Cheese (optional) (HEA)

Directions:

  • (If you use a non-stick pan, you may find you don’t need any oil at all.)
  • Roughly chop the onion and crush the garlic.
  • Lightly sauté the onion and garlic in the pan with the mince until the garlic starts to turn slightly golden.
  • Add the tinned tomatoes or passata, and stir through.
  • Grate the carrot (this will dissolve into the sauce, making it silky and smooth), and roughly cut up the courgette and mushroom, then add them to the pan.
  • Add a little tomato puree, a dash each of balsamic vinegar and Worcestershire sauce, and a generous pinch of cayenne pepper and dried mixed herbs.
  • Simmer the sauce lightly till it thickens, stirring occasionally to ensure it doesn’t burn.
  • If you find the sauce a little too acidic, add a little sweetener and it will take the edge off it.
  • Five minutes before the end of cooking time, add the spinach, which will wilt quickly.
  • Fill a pan with water and bring it to the boil (you can salt it if you wish), then add the pasta to cook. Follow the instructions on the package and cook till al dente.
  • Drain the pasta and serve into bowls, then top with the bolognese sauce.
  • Sprinkle some cheese (HEA) over the top to melt.

This is a regular dinner in our house, and I always look forward to it, as it’s so easy to make and is delicious every time – even my picky 6 year old son says it’s yummy, and that’s saying something!

I always have a portion or two in my freezer ready to go on busy days when I don’t have time for the prep. You can also make this in a slow cooker – just brown the meat and then bung everything for the sauce into the slow cooker at breakfast time, and leave it for the day. Your dinner will be ready for you when you come home – easy peasy!

If you really want to up the speed value, serve with a salad on the side!

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