One thing that I simply can never have enough of in life is pasta. In all its forms.
I am always trying to recreate some of my old favourite meat-based pasta dishes. I’d already mastered the creamy mushroom pasta so it was finally time to work on the meaty rich ragu.
What is ragu?
Traditionally, a ragu consists of slow cooked beef in red wine and a small amount of tomato, unlike a bolognese which uses a greater quantity of tomato. Thankfully there is quite a bit of vegan red wine out there on the market so you can easily recreate that rich depth that you want in the sauce. Now, how to recreate the meaty texture and the earthiness of a ragu?
How do you veganise a ragu?
Mushrooms are a great meat replacement. They have a great flavour when cooked and they can also provide a meaty bite to a sauce. If you blitz them in the food processor, or chop them up into tiny pieces, they hold together in the sauce and resemble mince.
I much prefer to use natural ingredients than processed packet foods, but if you want to make this more simple then there are plenty of vegan mince products in the supermarkets today.
There is no need to overcomplicate a pasta sauce. Keep your ingredients simple and fresh and the result is a delicate pasta dish.
I like to use fresh herbs in my Italian dishes and plenty of garlic of course.
Serving up your shroom ragu
What you should end up with is a dish that will impress even your meat-eating friends. Dress your dish simply with a sprig of thyme and a sprinkle of nutritional yeast (to add a slight cheesy flavour).
Pappardelle pasta looks great when served, but you can use any pasta you like. I personally also love rigatoni!
Vegan mushroom ragu with pappardelle pasta
- 1 tbsp Rapeseed oil
- 200 g Chestnut mushrooms - minced using a knife or food processor
- 2 cloves Garlic - finely chopped
- 1 Onion - finely chopped
- 1 Carrot - finely chopped
- 100 g Chopped tomatoes
- 100 g Brown lentils - cooked
- 1 sprig Thyme - remove the stalks
- 150 ml Red wine
- 300 ml Vegetable stock
- 200 g Pappardelle pasta
- Nutritional yeast - to serve
- Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed saucepan
- Add the chopped onion and carrot, fry for about 10 minutes until softened
- Add in the garlic and thyme leaves, continue cooking for a few minutes
- Stir in the minced mushrooms and cook until the liquid evaporates
- Pour in the red wine and cook off on a high heat
- Reduce the heat and stir in the chopped tomatoes until fully incorporated
- Add in the stock, put a lid on the pan and cook for about 20-30 minutes (until the sauce has thickened)
- Whilst waiting cook the pasta according to packet instructions
- Add the cooked pasta to the cooked sauce and evenly coat
- Serve with nutritional yeast and a sprig of time