White Bolognese Honeycomb Pasta Bake

White Bolognese Honeycomb Pasta Bake

I learned how to make bechamel when I was a little @intothesauce from my Grandma, someone with the healthiest bones I know, making this my favourite recipe to promote Healthy Bones Action Week in partnership with Dairy Australia. It’s a family favourite and even my fussy little girl loves it. One thing I learned from my nutrition degree is the importance of dairy to maintain healthy bones all throughout your life. Bone density issues are not going to stop me from being active in the kitchen when I’m older.

Healthy Bones Action Week is the perfect time to check how much dairy you need for lifelong bone health - learn more here.


  • 50g dried porcini mushrooms
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 carrots, roughly chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, roughly chopped
  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 500g pork and veal mince
  • 250ml (1 cup) dry white wine
  • 1L chicken stock
  • 10 sprigs thyme, tied together with twine
  • 1 Parmesan rind
  • 500g rigatoni

For the bechamel:

  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 100g plain or 00 flour
  • Pinch of finely grated nutmeg
  • 1L full cream milk
  • 100g finely grated Parmesan

To finish:

  • 50g grated Parmesan, to top

Serves 6-8


  1. Soak porcini in 1 cup of boiling water, covered, for at least 10 minutes. Strain porcini (reserving liquid).
  2. In a food processor, process porcini, onion, carrot and celery until very finely chopped. If you don’t have a food processor, finely dice the vegetables by hand.
  3. Melt butter in a large pan over medium heat. Add chopped vegetable and porcini mix and season. Saute until softened and beginning to go golden.
  4. Turn the heat up to high, season the mince and add to the pan. Cook, stirring often to break up the mince, until browned (around 5 mins).
  5. Add the wine and simmer until reduced by two thirds.
  6. Add the thyme, Parmesan rind, reserved porcini liquid (try not to pour in any of the soily grit that sinks to the very bottom) and stock and bring to a simmer
  7. Reduce the heat to low, place lid on slightly ajar and cook for 1½ hours.
  8. Turn off the heat, taste and season, and remove thyme bundle and Parmesan rind.
  9. Meanwhile, boil rigatoni until very al dente, then refresh with cold water to stop the cooking process.
  10. Whilst the ragu or rigatoni cooks away, make the bechamel.
  11. In a saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.
  12. Whisk in the flour and nutmeg and cook, stirring constantly, until it goes golden (the colour of Caramilk). It will smell toasty and biscuity.
  13. Bit by bit, whisk in the milk over medium heat. Continue to whisk whilst heating until the sauce is smooth and noticeably thickened, then turn off the heat.
  14. Whisk in Parmesan bit by bit and season to taste.
  15. Cover with a lid to prevent a skin forming and set aside, ready to assemble the pasta bake.
  16. Preheat oven to 180°C 
  17. In a lasagne tray around 33x23cm, assemble rigatoni standing upright in the baking dish.
  18. Spoon over all the Bolognese, followed by the bechamel, finishing with the remaining 50g Parmesan.
  19. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until bubbling at the sides and top is golden brown. You can use the grill setting at the end to brown the top further if it needs it. If the baking dish is quite full and you think it might bubble over, place a foil lined tray underneath it in the oven to catch any drippings.
  20. Remove from the oven and cool for at least 10 mins before serving.

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