Cauliflower Bolognese


  • 12 oz. mushrooms, such as shiitake or crimini, stems removed

  • 1 medium head of cauliflower (about 2¼ lb.),cut into 1 inch wide slices

  • ¼ cup plus 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

  • 1 large onion, finely chopped

  • 1 head of garlic, roasted

  • 1/2 cup diced carrots

  • 1/2 cup diced walnuts

  • 1/2 Tbsp. each of finely chopped rosemary and thyme

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • ⅓ cup double-concentrated tomato paste

  • 14 oz can of diced tomatoes, drained and liquid reserved

  • 1 to 2 cups pasta sauce (optional)

  • Kosher salt

  • 1 lb. rigatoni

  • 1 oz. finely grated Parmesan for serving


  1. Preheat oven to 425 F. Line baking sheet with foil.

  2. Lightly brush olive oil onto both sides sliced cauliflower. Salt and pepper lightly. Place in a single layer on the baking sheet. Cut off top of head of garlic; drizzle with olive oil and enclose in foil. Place on baking sheet with cauliflower. Bake for 30 minutes on top rack or until tender.

  3. Cut mushrooms, onion, and carrots (large dice) and saute over medium heat in a large saute pan until caramelized and softened. Add salt, pepper, and herbs while veg is sauteing.

  4. Transfer slightly cooled vegetables (cauliflower, garlic, mushrooms, onion, and carrots) and drained tomatoes to food processor and pulse into small pieces (texture of sloppy joes). This may take 3 or 4 batches to process.

  5. In a large saute pan, over medium low heat, add 1 Tbsp each olive oil, balsamic vinegar, 1/3 cup of tomato paste and the reserved liquid from canned tomatoes. Cook about 2 minutes to incorporate. Add to the pan the pulsed vegetables and stir. Check need for salt and pepper. If too thick can add additional water or pasta sauce. Cook 10 - 15 minutes while preparing pasta noodles.

  6. Cook rigatoni pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until almost al dente, about 1 minute less than package directions.

  7. Drain pasta and reserve 1 cup pasta cooking liquid. Return pasta to pasta pot and add in cauliflower bolognese and pasta liquid. Increase heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until pasta is al dente and sauce is clinging to pasta, about 3 minutes.

  8. Serve an atop with fresh grating of Parmesan and drizzle of olive oil.

Recipe courtesy of, image from