Does vegetarian ragu seem like an oxymoron to you? Of course, the traditional Bolognese sauce is sacred, but we’d like to suggest a meat-free alternative that you just have to try: pasta with cauliflower ragu! This is a first course dish with a flavorful, full-bodied vegetable-based sauce that really looks like a classic ragu sauce. Thanks to the short cooking time, the cauliflower won’t have its characteristic flavor and smell, which is why even people who usually aren’t fans of this veggie will enjoy this dish nonetheless. You can reassure your kids: Tonight, they won’t be finding the usual boiled cauliflower, but pasta with cauliflower ragu that’s mouthwateringly tasty!
Mezze Maniche Rigate pasta ¾ lb (320 g)
Cauliflower 1 ½ lb (700 g)
Tomato puree 2 cups (500 g)
Tomato paste 1 tbsp
Celery 2 ribs
Yellow onions 1
Rosemary 1 sprig
Thyme to taste
Extra virgin olive oil to taste
Fine salt to taste
Black pepper to taste
Pecorino Romano cheese to taste
HOW TO PREPARE PASTA WITH CAULIFLOWER RAGU
To make the pasta with cauliflower ragu, first wash the celery, carrot, and onion, and chop them roughly. Put the vegetables in a food processor and blitz until they’re chopped finely. Chop the rosemary needles finely, too.
Heat a drizzle of oil in a large pot and add the rosemary, then the diced vegetables, and fry lightly for around 10 minutes. Next, pour in the tomato purée and a splash of water, just enough to rinse the container the purée was in.
Now add the tomato paste and season with salt. Cover the pot with a lid and cook over low heat for around 40 minutes, stirring every so often. In the meantime, clean the cauliflower and separate the florets, and then chop them roughly in the food processor. You’ll need around 1 lb (500 g) of cleaned cauliflower.
After the cooking time for the ragu has passed, the sauce will have reduced slightly. Now, add the cauliflower, stirring well, then season with some thyme leaves and a grind of pepper. Adjust the salt if needed. At this point, you can cook the mezze maniche pasta in boiling salted water; the sauce will finish cooking at the same time as the pasta.
Adjust the thickness of the ragu with a little pasta cooking water, and when the pasta is ready, drain and pour straight into the sauce. Stir to combine the pasta with the ragu and finish off with another grind of pepper and some shaved Pecorino Romano. Your pasta with cauliflower ragu is ready to be served.
We recommend eating the pasta with cauliflower ragu right away. Any leftovers can be reheated in the oven with the addition of some melting cheese.