Zoodle bolognese

Zoodle bolognese

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  • 4
  • Easy
  • Carb Conscious
  • 1½ hours

Spag bol! This is a perennial family favorite in the Parker household. There’s something so nostalgic and comforting about slurping down pasta wrapped in a rich beef sauce—even when the “pasta” is zucchini! To keep it low-carb omit the carrots; or for a slightly less carb-restricted version, serve it over regular wheat pasta.


  • 500 g beef mince
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2 medium carrots (about 100 g), diced
  • ½ medium onion (about 100 g), diced
  • ½ clove garlic, minced
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 star anise
  • 2 T tomato paste
  • 2 cups home-made or store-bought beef broth
  • 1 x 400 g can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 t dried oregano
  • 1 to 2 strips Parmesan rind (optional)
  • 400 g baby marrow noodles (not frozen)
  • 20 g Parmesan, shaved

Cooking Instructions

1. Brown the beef in a large pan over high heat, breaking up the meat using a spatula, 6¬–8 minutes. Season with a pinch each of salt and pepper. Cook the beef in small batches if you can so that it browns rather than boils in its own liquid. It does not need to be fully cooked at this point. Remove the browned beef from the pan and set aside.

2. To the same pan, add 1 T oil, the carrots, onion, garlic, thyme, bay leaf, star anise, and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and leave to sweat (cook without browning) until tender, stirring occasionally to make sure the ingredients don’t burn, about 10 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook for a further 2 minutes.

3. Pour in the broth and use a wooden spoon to scrape the flavorful browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the tomatoes, oregano, and Parmesan rinds, if using.

4. Return the beef to the pan, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is tender and everything has come together cohesively, 60 to 90 minutes. Add a splash of water or stock if the mixture becomes too dry.

5. Once the meat is nearly cooked, fill a medium-sized saucepan halfway with water. Bring to a boil over high heat and stir in a pinch of salt. Add the baby marrow noodles and cook for 1 minute. Drain well, shaking off all of the excess water, and put in a medium-sized bowl. Add the remaining oil and toss well to coat.

6. Divide the noodles between four serving bowls. Remove the thyme stems, bay leaf and star anise from the meat sauce and discard. Spoon the sauce over the noodles. Finish with the shaved Parmesan and sprinkle with a pinch of pepper.

Recipe extracted from End your Carb Confusion by Scott Parker with Eric C. Westman, MD, published by Penguin.

Find more beef recipes here. 

Scott Parker Recipe by: Scott Parker
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Scott Parker is a chef and the culinary innovation manager at Woolworths. He is also the author of End your Carb Confusion with Eric C. Westman, MD, published by Penguin.

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