Forgive me Paleo gods, for I have sinned. I ate cheese. I had a bit of a rough weekend and when I got home to cook dinner all I wanted was something comforting like a great big cheese-y pasta bake. Google was surprisingly reticent on the important matter of a primal-friendly pasta bake (I was not going to go without the cheese. Cheese is what makes it yummy.). Maybe I wasn’t using the right search terms — perhaps they call it something else in the US. Anyway, after some digging, I did find this one from Primal Palate. It was a bit fussy so I decided to do without all the paper towels and patting nonsense and just cook it. When a hungry cavewoman wants her (no-)pasta bake there’s no fussing involved! I’ve marked the two non-paleo (but primal!) ingredients with a star — if you’re sensitive to dairy or are doing a Whole30 or just don’t eat dairy then obviously leave out the cheese. Otherwise this worked really well and went right to the top of my comfort food list. Sorry for the crappy photos; again, when a hungry cavewoman wants her (no-)pasta bake…etc.
Ingredients. Serves four.
- 3 courgettes, spiralised or julienned
- 1 dsp ghee, coconut oil, butter or olive oil
- 2 onions, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 tsp magic mushroom powder
- 6 sausages (check the ingredients. Sainsbury’s Taste The Difference has decent gluten-free options now.)
- 100g mushrooms, sliced or roughly chopped
- 2 x 400g tins/cartons of chopped tomatoes
- *Two heaped tbsp full fat cream cheese
- *Large handful of grated cheddar cheese
- Sage leaves
- Preheat oven to 150C, 300F, gas mark 2. Place spiralised courgettes in a baking dish that you’re happy to serve the pasta bake in and put it in the oven for half an hour to dry out (or as long as it takes to do the sauce).
- Meanwhile, melt the fat in a frying pan (I use a heavy cast iron frying pan) on a medium heat. Once heated, add the onions and garlic and stir for a few seconds. Sprinkle in the magic mushroom powder and stir fry until onions are soft and garlic begins to brown.
- Squeeze the sausage meat out of the skins into meatballs, straight into the pan. Leave to brown on one side and then give everything a stir to flip them over and brown on the other side.
- Add the mushrooms and stir until they start to look cooked.
- Add chopped tomatoes, stir and allow to bubble up. Stir through the cream cheese, if using.
- At this point have a check on the courgetti — they should be limp. If there is any water accumulated in the dish, pour it out or pat the courgetti dry. Stir the sausage and tomato mix through the courgetti. Increase the oven to 180C, 350F, gas mark 4.
- Sprinkle the cheddar cheese evenly over the top of the bake, if using. Place a few sage leaves on top too.
- Bake in the oven until cheese is melted and browned and the tomato sauce is bubbling through — around 20-30 minutes. Whack it under a hot grill to brown it if you’re impatient like me.
- Serve with a big green salad.