Hands up if you’ve been observing ‘Meatless Mondays’ or 'Meat-free Week’ and generally trying to eat less meat.
*my hand is tentatively half-raised*
My efforts to reduce the amount of processed food I eat has - sort of - extended to eating less meat and less white potatoes, and more leafy greens and vegetables. It’s been a bit of a failure so far, but it has also emphasised to me just how much meat and processed gunk I do consume.
It’s not my fault, she whines. It’s just that most of the ‘good’ food is pretty boring when compared to a juicy chargrilled steak with some little roast potatoes with truffle salt… (I dare you to deny this!).
That was, until I tried this most excellent Vegetable Bolognese. Admittedly, it doesn’t sound too exciting, but please believe me when I tell you that this is one of the most flavoursome pasta dishes I’ve ever had.
The intensely flavoured porcini, sweet carrot and capsicum and a good glug of red wine are all concentrated into this amazingly luscious sauce that looks like meaty bolognese but tastes so much better. You must give it a try, even if you aren’t planning on going meat-free.
¼ cup dried porcini mushrooms
1 carrot, roughly chopped
1 small brown onion, roughly chopped
1 red or yellow capsicum, roughly chopped
100g Swiss brown mushrooms, roughly sliced
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 tblsp olive oil
½ tblsp chopped thyme leaves
2 tblsp sundried tomato pesto
¼ cup red wine
¾ cup vegetable stock
¼ cup mascarpone
Grated parmesan, to serve
1. Soak porcini in ½ cup boiling water for 10 minutes. Drain, reserving the liquid, and roughly chop the porcini.
2. Place the carrot, onion, capsicum, Swiss brown mushrooms and garlic in a food processor and process until finely chopped but not mushy.
3. Meanwhile, cook linguine in a large saucepan of boiling, salted water until al dente.
4. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat and add the finely chopped vegetables. Cook, stirring, for 3-4 minutes, until softened. Add the thyme, pesto and porcini and cook for another minute.
5. Add the wine, stock and half the reserved porcini liquid. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, and stir through the mascarpone, then season with salt and pepper.
6. Drain the linguine. Add the vegetable sauce to the pasta and gently toss to combine. Sprinkle parmesan on top and serve.
recipe adapted from delicious (March 2013).
Lovely veg, including yellow capsicum, onion, carrot, dried porcini and Swiss brown mushrooms
The rest of the ingredients: mascarpone, red wine, sundried tomato pesto and linguini
A rich, flavourful meat-free dish
I don't like my pasta to be too 'wet', but you can add more liquid to the serving, if you like.