Classic Bolognese/Ragù/Tomato Sauce

It was decided we would have a vegetarian dinner since we’d been having meat just a little too often, despite my O- blood group being allegedly quite meat oriented. It’s bullshit, but what the heck.

Fried Onions

We had some Quorn mince in the freezer. Quorn is not the worst thing in the world. We survived on it when my daughter went through the obligatory vegetarian phase in her teens.

I have entered arguments about what constitutes a Bolognese vs. a Ragù and this leans more to the Ragù since it has a tin of tomatoes thrown in.

Method

We start by chopping a couple of cloves of garlic and a couple of small onions. Or one large one. Fry them in olve oil until they are translucent. At this point I also like to add a chopped green pepper sometimes, I find the flavour contrast quite nice. Once that’s all done, throw in half a cup of red wine and some tomato paste and let that reduce.

Finally, throw in 1tbsp of “Italian Seasoning” herbs, a tin of chopped tomatoes and as much Quorn (100g-200g?) as you want and 1tsp of salt and pepper.

A 1/4 tsp of chilli is quite contentious in my house. I find a little heat sets off the flavour of the tomatoes quite nicely. 1tbsp of sugar is a little less contraversial.

Let this simmer for at least half an hour to reduce some of the juice from the tomatoes. What you may find is that the Quorn is a little glutinous and made the sauce a little thicker all on its own.

Tomato Sauce

The next big question is which pasta to serve it with. My answer is: it doesn’t matter. If you serve it with any of spaghetti, penne or tagliatelle, no-one is going to come after you. Just make sure it’s good pasta. Allegedly Barilla brand is the best with Napolina More importantly, apparently, is to save a couple of tbsp of the cooking water and add it back to the pasta. The gluten in the water helps the sauce stick to the pasta. I have no evidence for this!

When serving, top with fresh basil and some grated parmesan. Serve with a nice Chianti and a side salad of choice, maybe some garlic bread.

There you have it! One of my store cupboard staples.

Burro e Salvia, Shoreditch

Burro e Salvia

Working in Shoreditch, surrounded by people in scary clothes and shops selling stuff I neither want nor can afford, there are a couple of standout places. This one is a traditional “Pastaficio” with all pasta handmade and a little café out back. Unless you’ve been to Italy and had the same, you’ve not tasted anything like this. The pasta itself is just insanely good and the fillings diverse from meaty through to veggie.

I’ve filled a frequent-flyer card!

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