Cauliflower and Mushroom Pasta Bake by Nyasha Sakutakwa - 5 Amazing Cheap Recipes From Pro Chefs to Sustain in Lockdown

This piece was written by our Community Ambassador, Food publisher, writer and advocate Riaz Phillips. You can find out more about Riaz here

At the start of the first COVID-19 lockdown when news began to trickle out that the communities that were being negatively impacted the most were the ones closest to me, I wanted to do something positive that helped those in need and at the same time shone a positive light on underrepresented food cultures in the UK.

The result was Community Comfort, an incredible array of recipes inspired by a global palette of cuisines. The following recipes are a handful that I have picked due to their ease to make, relatively cheap ingredients and for how long each cook can last especially given these winter days!

Recipe Four
Cauliflower and mushroom pasta bake by Nyasha Sakutakwa

Nyasha runs a super fun YouTube channel where he cooks and in general just shares huge amounts of joy. This dish was inspired by his time as a student, which meant living off a student budget and trying to work wonders cooking for his friends. The frequent empty plates suggested he was on to something and we agree. We usually keep some regular pasta in jars on the shelf in the kitchen, so this is perfect for making something quick and tasty.

Image of Cauliflower and Mushroom Pasta Bake
Cauliflower and Mushroom Pasta Bake


  1. In a cast iron frying pan on medium heat fry your onions for a few minutes in a few big tablespoons of olive oil, before adding in your garlic. 
  2. Introduce your mushrooms, thyme and parsley. Stir all of these together until the mushrooms have softened, around 5-7 mins. 
  3. Now in with the cauliflower, cream and half the stock. Stir through for a few minutes. 
  4. Into a preheated oven of 170c, insert your cast-iron pan onto the middle shelf and roast your creamy mixture for 10 mins. Take it out. You’ll notice it has reduced slightly. If you need more stock, add it in and return to the oven for another 10 mins.
  5. Cook your pasta and, just before draining, save half a mug of salty pasta water. 
  6. Take your frying pan out of the oven and mix your pasta into the creamy cauliflower, as well as a dash of that pasta water. 
  7. Top with the grated cheddar and return to the oven, this time under a high grill. Grill until you see a crispy top. 
  8. Remove from the oven, serve plates and munch. 


300g Dried fusili or penne
1 Onion, thinly sliced
2 Garlic cloves, crushed
1 Medium sized cauliflower, remove leaves and cut into florets
125g Shiitake mushrooms, roughly chopped
125g Chestnut mushrooms, cut into 1/8s
1 tbsp Dried thyme
1 tbsp Dried parsley
500ml Double cream 400ml veg stock
150g Cheddar, grated 

With food poverty unfortunately on the rise, at the moment, it’s very understandable that affordability is a shifting scale given the uncertainty of COVID-19. Spark & Co has a host of resources for financial support including a variety of food banks and monetary aides that are searchable by gender, age, region location and Ethnic background or race.

You can read Riaz's last recipe of the series, Sweet Potato and Chickpea Coconut Curry by Belinda Manfo here.

5 Amazing Cheap Recipes from Pro Chefs to Sustain you in Lockdown