A couple of weeks ago, Andy ordered spaghetti bolognese in a restaurant. "You could make this, but with lots of different vegetables," he said as he was eating. "It'd be better."
I'm very fortunate to have a husband who's the biggest fan of my cooking, so I'm always keen to hear and indulge his requests. Andy isn't veggie, but he tends to think most dishes would be improved by more vegetables, so our eating habits mesh pretty well. Of course, being vegetarian, I'd never actually tasted proper spaghetti bolognese so I had to do a bit of online research into authentic recipes. The basics seem to be tomato sauce, red wine, garlic, and sometimes chilli. I love spicy dishes so mine was definitely going to be at the hot end. In place of the meat I used a mixture of lentils, carrots, mushrooms, peas, and red pepper.
This was a particularly easy sauce to cook up, to the extent that I made it in a few free moments in between stages of preparation a different meal, and then popped the sauce in the fridge until I was ready to use it. This had the added advantage of allowing the flavours to mature overnight, for a richer taste.
Vegetarian Spaghetti Bolognese
For the sauce:
500g passata or fresh tomato sauce
250ml red wine
1 tin green lentils
2 medium carrots
1 large red onion
1 red pepper
6 chestnut mushrooms
A handful of peas
1 dried chipotle chilli
4 cloves garlic (minced)
- Finely chop the carrots, onion, pepper, and mushrooms. Fry in a little olive oil until the carrots are softening.
- Add the tomato, wine, lentils, chilli, and garlic. (I scraped the seeds out of the chilli, first, but you could leave them in for an even hotter dish.)
- Heat the sauce gently, and simmer for 2-3 hours.
- Remove from the heat, cool, and leave overnight to allow the flavours to infuse. If you want to freeze the sauce, you can do so once it has cooled.
- When you're ready to eat your pasta, reheat the sauce while the spaghetti cooks (according to the packet instructions).
- Serve with a little grated cheese.
|Pasta Please is a monthly pasta challenge run by Jacqueline at Tinned Tomatoes, and is hosted this month by Shaheen at Allotment2Kitchen, where you can see more chilli pasta dishes.|
Jacqueline makes veggie bolognaise by a slightly different method, using soya mince, with white wine in the sauce and without the chilli. I'm definitely going to try her recipe soon.