I’m only mildly ashamed to admit that I kind of love the royal family. I got up early to watch Will and Kate get married and I loved every second of Harry and Meghan’s (yes, even her dress) wedding. The Reverend, her Mom, the no makeup look. I loved it all.
So when I heard that the Duchess of Sussex herself had a fantastic zucchini bolognese sauce, I had to try it. Bolognese is not a sauce vegetarians usually get to enjoy and I’m always on the lookout for hearty, flavorful dishes to keep our dinners interesting.
I did some googling and found this recipe from Delish, supposedly the recipe created by the Duchess herself.
It was heaven. Complete heaven. My husband and I both wondered aloud, “How can it have so few ingredients and be so flavorful?” We loved it. The recipe says it yields 4 servings but we ate all of it.
The only problem? It has a cooking time of 4 hours. You see, to get that zucchini into complete mush (therefore turning it into a sauce) you’ve gotta cook it low and slow for hours. I wouldn’t call it high maintenance because you don’t need to be actively at the stove the whole time but it did mean that we were stuck inside all afternoon and as I stirred it about every 15 minutes or so.
It was delicious but not at all practical, especially for most busy families or anyone who works outside the home.
So I decided to try the recipe in a slow cooker. I’ve now made it in the slow cooker 3 times and can confidently say, it can be done (with some minor modifications) and it’ll be just as delicious.
1. Start by sauteing one chopped onion in olive oil or butter (your choice).
2. While the onion is cooking, dice the zucchini.
3. Spray the bottom of a large slow cooker with cooking spray.
4. Dissolve one vegetable bouillon cube in 1/2 cup hot water (you can skip this step if you’ll be home to stir it after about an hour).
5. Add the uncooked diced zucchini, the cooked onions, and the bouillon water to the slow cooker. Season with salt and pepper.
6. Cook on high for 6 hours. If you’re home, stir it once or twice for good measure. If you aren’t home and can’t stir, it’ll still be yummy.
7. Here’s where it differs most from the original recipe: You’ve got to kind of mush it with a spoon. It won’t take much effort at all. I just mushed it against the sides of the slow cooker and the zucchini and onion completely lost their shape, turning right into a thick sauce consistency.
8. Boil a pot of water and cook a box of pasta. The recipe recommends rigatoni and so do I but it would work with penne too. Depending on the size of your zucchini, you may have enough sauce for a whole box of pasta. This also will depend on how saucy you want it. Reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water.
9. When the pasta is nearly done, add the juice of half a lemon to the sauce. (*this is key. If you add the cheese first, it gets stringy. I made this mistake once and the sauce was an entirely different consistency. If you add the lemon first, it keeps the cheese from getting stringy).
9. Add a pinch of red pepper flakes and one cup of grated Parmesan. If your sauce is a little too thick for your liking at this point, add a little reserved pasta water.
10. Stir the sauce until well mixed. Add sauce to the cooked pasta, stir, and serve.
So that’s that. I’ve taken to calling it Princess Pasta (a great name created by someone who saw me cooking this on my Insta story). It’s honestly better than 99% of the pasta I’ve had in restaurants in the last few years. It’s that good.
Remember, everyone’s slow cooker is a little different and especially because I think we’re all a little traumatized by slow cookers post that episode of This Is Us, maybe cook it while you’re home the first time you make it.