Wednesday 17 September 2014

Spaghetti Pie and Random Notes

Readers and friends often comment at how much work I put into cooking.  Here is my secret.  Leftovers!  Yes I love to cook up a big bake or lasagne and let it feed us the rest of the week - if we run out I make a simple soup.  So when I share this pasta bake which took quite a lot of time, bear in mind that the extra effort on one night meant very little effort for a few nights afterwards.

The crazy idea of spaghetti pie comes from Kate of No Meat and Three Veg. I saw her post at the end of August when I was thinking about dishes starting with the Letter S for Vegan MoFo.  The vision of this dish would not go away.  Finally I had some leftover vegan cheese sauce and a cauliflower I had bought on special for $1 that needed to be used quickly.  Suddenly the dish presented itself. 

I had already decided that I would use puff pastry rather than shortcrust like Kate's.  I had a huge packet of vegan puff pastry in the freezer.  So I was surprised to find myself running short on the pastry.  It seems that  the three batches of sausage rolls made a bigger impact on the stash than I had expected.  Hence the lattice topping.  I never planned for it to look that pretty.

And the verdict!  This was great.  I was a bit nervous about using the puff pastry on the bottom of the pie.  I even rang my mum for advice.  She suggested I use a metal tray and bake it on a pizza stone.  The double carbs of pasta and pastry made fantastic comfort food.  I wished that I had more and less intense cheese sauce.  I made Ricki's walnut and cauliflower mince meat which gave the back a really rich flavour.  A light milky cheese sauce would work well with it.  I also considered grating my vegan bio cheese on top but didn't have quite enough left.

Indeed it was a very substantial pasta bake.  (Note that the above slice was actually a bit too generous!)  It is a recipe with lots of components that requires lots of time.  Yet it is worth the effort and it can be made ahead of time if you are entertaining or going to a potluck.  I would recommend eating it with lots of salad or green vegies.  However, if like me, you don't have lots of energy leftover to prepare sides to eat with it, you can console yourself that it has lots of vegies in it.  Even if it does get drowned in tomato sauce.

I am sending this pie to Shaheen's combined Eat Your Greens and Pasta Please blog events with this month's theme being pasta with green vegies.  Jac is the coordinator of Pasta Please.  I am also sending it to Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary for the Extra Veg blog event that is overseen by Fuss Free Flavours and Utterly Scrummy.  Though the pie looks like a lot of carbs, it hides a head of cauliflower, carrot, zucchini, tomato, onion and spinach.

And now for a few random notes:
  • Last night we watched a really interesting tv show called Brilliant Creatures about intellectual Aussie icons and I was surprised to find I had seen three of them live.  I saw Germaine Greer speak at Queens Hall in Edinburgh, Barry Humphries perform as Sandy Stone at The Athenaeum in Melbourne and a live taping of the Clive James Show at the BBC Television Centre in London.  I have never seen Robert Hughes live.  And the show made me think about how we hear so much less about The Female Eunuch than when I was younger.
  • I am enjoying reading Tony Blair's autobiography.  It is surprisingly readable and gives great insight into government.  I have been surprised that Sylvia seems to like me reading it out loud to her when she wakes late at night and I am reading it.
  • On the weekend my dad and I test-drove a car.  The guy at the car sales lot had to charge the battery before we started.  We forgot this when I turned off the engine midway through the drive so we could swap drivers.  Then my dad and I had to search for the car sales lot on our phones so we could ring them to come and recharge the battery.  We are not buying the car but not because of the battery.  The search for a new car goes on.

More vegan spaghetti and fettuccine recipes on Green Gourmet Giraffe:

Spaghetti Pie
Serves 8

1 batch of cauliflower and walnut mince meat
1 batch of tomato pasta sauce (below)
500g spaghetti (I used wholemeal)
2 cups of vegan cheese sauce*
4 to 5 sheets of puff pastry (I used vegan)**
milk to glaze pastry

Preheat oven to 220 C.  Place a baking/pizza stone in the oven.

Cook and drain spaghetti according to package instructions.  Mix "mince meat" and tomato pasta sauce with spaghetti.  (I used my stockpot and pasta insert to cook the pasta and then mixed the sauce into the pasta in that pot.)

Grease a roasting tin (about 13 x 9 inch) and line with puff pastry.  Tip the spaghetti mixture into the lined tin and spread out evenly.  Spread cheese sauce over the spaghetti mixture. (I didn't have much cheese sauce and it resulted in a pleasing marbled effect but I quite fancy more cheese sauce.)  Cover with either full sheets of pastry or a lattice of pastry strips.  Brush pastry with milk.

Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the pastry is golden and flaky.

* I used 1/2 batch of hurry up pumpkin alfredo but would probably do a simple white sauce with seasoning, nutritional yeast flakes and seeded mustard for a simpler flavour.  I think more cheese sauce would be good so I have specified 2 cups.  You could always just do a simple margarine/flour/milk white sauce and cover with a vegan cheese like biocheese.

** This bake would work well without the pastry but then it would be a pasta bake not a pie and that wouldn't be so much fun!

Tomato pasta sauce

2-3 tsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, diced
1 medium zucchini, grated
750g passata (pureed tomatoes)
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp red wine
1 tbsp tahini
2 tsp maple syrup
1 tsp seeded mustard
1/2 tsp salt flakes
handful of chopped spinach

Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat and fry onion and carrots for 5 to 10 minutes or until vegies soften.  Add zucchini, passata, tomato paste, red wine, tahini, maple syrup, mustard and salt.  Use about 1/2 a cup of water to rinse out the passata bottle and add to saucepan.  Simmer for 30 to 45 minutes or until mixture has thickened.  Season to taste.  Remove from heat.  Stir in spinach.

On the Stereo: 
Jack White Presents The best of Third Man Records (MoJo freebie) - Various Artists

This post is part of Vegan Month of Food September 2014.  This year for Vegan MoFo my theme is The Letter S.  Today is S for Surprising Wednesdays.  Go to my Vegan MoFo list for more of my 2014 Vegan MoFo posts. 


  1. What a cool concept... spaghetti pie! I must admit I've never heard of it, but I am intrigued. Bookmarking to try some day!

  2. It's fantastic Johanna. I would make this when the nephews come on over, they are not that keen on veg, but a pie with pasta, they would relish. thank you for sharing on EatYourGreens and PastaPlease. thank you so much for being a part of my blog x

  3. Glad to provide you inspiration! It looks fantastic! I love ricki's mince meat as well, and the cheese sauce looks delicious. It looks so gourmet with the lattice on the top :)

  4. Guilty! I for one am always in awe of how you manage to put this amazing dishes together and still have time to play with Sylvia, lol...Now I know your secret and it's a good one. I don't plan ahead as well as I once did but when you have small children, an active life and a hubby, it's so important to have some sort of organizational plan even if it doesn't always work out.

    Your Spaghetti Pie sounds quite interesting albeit a lot of work but as you say it will keep for a few meals.

    Now that is one weird car expereice. I think I would stay away from it because of the charging problem, lol...Good luck on you car hunt!

    Thank you so much for sharing, Johanna...

  5. I saw this on Kate's blog too and love your version. I am also a big fan of leftovers and they are responsible for almost all of my work lunches during the week. Sadly, Mr B is not a left over kind of person and so they don't usually feature for dinner, although I do take the 'cook up a batch of legumes / tofu' approach for my component of meals that have his and hers proteins.

    Your car saga really does sound quite challenging. I hope you find a suitable replacement soon.

  6. What a great pasta bake and I love how it has spaghetti through it - what a great idea. And it's always such a help to cook big quantities so there's some leftover for the next day. I wish you well in finding a new car - there's always so much to consider! xx

  7. I love the sound of this so much! This would go down really well in our house I think, especially as Autumn approaches. Thank you for sharing with #ExtraVeg!

  8. Spaghetti pie? Can I come live with you? I kind of want to make it right now, except I am missing a lot of the ingredients. Well, I suppose it could make for a fun weekend project =)
    Your daughter enjoys listening to you read Tony Blair's autobiography? That is pretty cool.
    I hope the search for the new car is going well (or done!).

  9. What a great sounding recipe!

  10. A fantastic pie - I love the double carbs!

    thanks for linking up to #ExtraVeg

  11. What an awesome awesome pie! Love that it fed your family for so many days :-) And wonderful sneaky veggies in there too!
    And even though you didn't intend for the lattice top I think it looks super awesome that way!


Thanks for dropping by. I love hearing from you. Please share your thoughts and questions. Annoyingly the spammers are bombarding me so I have turned on the pesky captcha code (refresh to find an easy one if you don't like the first one)