What can be more comforting than a big bowl of steaming hot pasta? Any time of year this brings joy whether it be in a light, herby springtime vegetable sauce or a creamy, cuddly alfredo, I’ve never met a person who didn’t smile at an offering of pasta.
This rich and sultry ragu is no exception. With it’s tantalising depths of porcini flavour and a wholesome bite from soya mince or lentils for as truly authentic as a vegan version of a meat laden dish can get. Woody herbs and vibrant tomatoes give deep flavour but the star reigns supreme, the porcini.
This is an easy dish that is as adaptable as it is delicious, add in herbs, flavourings and veggies as you wish, just don’t surpass those earthy dried mushrooms! Once it’s in a pot, leave it to simmer as long as you possibly can for truly Italian decadence.
Ingredients: Serves 6
- 30g dried porcini mushrooms
- 1 large white onion
- 4 fat cloves garlic
- 1 carrot
- 2 tbsp sundried tomato paste
- 400g rehydrated soya mince or cooked puy lentils
- 250ml (1 cup) vegan red wine (optional)
- 500g (2 cups) tomato sauce or passata with herbs
- 1 (400g) can chopped tomatoes
- 1 mushroom or vegetable stock cube
- 1 tbsp pomegranate molasses (recommended but can use another dark sweetener)
- 2 tbsp vegan worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 tsp each dried basil and oregano
- 1/4 tsp each dried sage and rosemary
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 400g egg free tagliatelle, cooked according to package directions
- Soak the dried mushrooms in about 1.5 cups of boiling water, set aside.
- Slowly cook the diced onion and carrot in a large non stick pot with a pinch of salt and splash of water until golden and caramelised, add the minced garlic and tomato paste and cook for a further minute, stirring, until fragrant.
- Add in the mince or lentils and the chopped mushrooms (save the soaking water) and str fry for a few minutes before adding the wine.
- When the wine has reduced by half, add the tomato sauce and canned tomatoes, then add the stock cube to the can and fill with boiling water to dissolve and add to the pot. Add the molasses, Worcestershire sauce, herbs and nutritional yeast plus 1/2 tsp salt and pepper.
- Leave to slowly simmer for at least 30 minutes-1 hour, adding the mushroom soaking liquid throughout cooking as it reduces. Cook for as long as possible and adjust seasoning to your liking.
- Toss with the boiled pasta to serve and scatter with fresh basil or parsley.