I adore this ragu recipe, its rich and comforting, perfect on a cold winters evening or as an alternative to a Sunday lunch served with a fresh dark green salad and some crusty bread. I like to use Tagliatelle but you can use any shape pasta really.
600g mushrooms sliced
1 carrot finely diced
1 onion diced
1 celery stick diced
2 fresh bay leaves
4-5 sprigs of thyme
4 garlic gloves grated or crushed
2 tbsp. tomato puree
2 tbsp. tamari/soy
1 tbsp. vegan Worcester sauce (optional)
2 tins cherry tomatoes
1 vegetable stock pot or cube
Salt and pepper
2 tsp ketchup
1 heaped cup precooked brown/green/puy lentils
Fresh basil leaves
Tagliatelle or pasta of choice for 4
Start by soaking your porcini mushrooms. Place in a jug and cover with 500ml boiling water and set aside.
Add the onions, celery, carrot, bay leaves and 3 thyme sprigs to pan with 2 tbsp. groundnut or olive oil. Sautee on a medium to low heat and until vegetables are starting to soften and onions caramelise.
Drain the porcini through a sieve lined with kitchen towel, reserving the liquid for later. Finely chop the mushrooms and add the pan. Stirring to combine.
Add the garlic and cook for a minute, followed by the tamari, Worcester sauce, tomato puree, stir to combine.
Add the cherry tomatoes, reserved porcini liquor, the lentils 2 tsp ketchup, the stock pot or cube, and a good pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper. Stir till combine and let it come to a simmer, after which reduce to a low heat and allow to cook and reduce a little for a good ½ hour, longer if you have. Stirring occasionally.
Once it is has reduced and thickened, check for seasoning, go easy on the salt as you have added a stock pot.
I often turn the heat off and cover with a lid. Allowing all the flavours to mingle. Then reheat on the hob when I am ready to serve.
When you are ready to serve have a fish around to remove the thyme sprigs and bay leaves. And add the leaves from the remaining sprigs and give it a good stir.
Serve with pasta of your choice, fresh basil leaves, vegan parm and a green salad.