Spaghetti Pollanaise – a recipe inspired by Michael Pollan

Recently, we saw Michael Pollan talk at the Opera House. He was awesome.

The things he spoke of were not new to me. Ideas about eating locally grown produce; not eating too many refined “white” foods; avoiding foods so artificial that our grandmothers wouldn’t recognise them as food… But there was one line which stuck with me above all others:

Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

(I’ll be referring to more of his clever quotes and ideas in the future, but it’s Wednesday, and I need an early night!)

So here is my Pollan-inspired version of bolognese, made with “mostly plants”. It reminds me of my step-mum’s vege pasta sauce – made from broccoli, celery, carrot, zucchini, tomato, oregano and basil – which was the only way she could get me to eat vegetables when I was little. It’s now one of my favourite comfort foods.

Spaghetti Pollanaise

This recipe is featured on Masterchef Food Hub


  • 300g organic beef mince
  • 2 or 3 anchovy fillets in oil
  • 1 small eggplant (or half a giant one)
  • 3 large portobello or swiss brown mushrooms
  • 1 bulb fennel
  • 1 brown onion
  • 2 fat cloves of garlic
  • 2 x 400g tins good quality (local!) tomatoes
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 fresh bay leaves
  • salt and pepper


  1. Finely dice the onion, fennel, carrot, mushrooms and eggplant (keep separate).
  2. Heat some olive oil a large saucepan and fry the anchovies until melted.
  3. Add garlic, allow to become fragrant, then add the onion and fennel. Allow to soften.
  4. Add the mince and break up with a wooden spoon.
  5. When browned, add the carrots, mushrooms and eggplant. Saute for 10 minutes.
  6. Pour in the milk and reduce heat to a simmer. (This step of cooking the meat in milk before the adding the acidic ingredients ensures it becomes tender and soft.)
  7. When milk has been absorbed/evaporated, tip in the tomatoes, bay leaves and season with salt and pepper.
  8. Add a dash of red wine vinegar towards the end if it needs a bit of a lift.

Mr Black declared this dish to be “amazing”. Not bad for a Wednesday 😉


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