You definitely don’t need to be vegan to enjoy this. The key is hitting the umami as often as you can






Skill level

Average: 3.8 (647 votes)


  • 8 dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 tbsp shiokombu (optional)
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra to serve
  • 1 brown onion, finely diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 2 carrots, 1 grated and 1 finely diced
  • 1 celery stalk, finely diced
  • 500 g button mushrooms, finely diced
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • ½ tsp Vegemite
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 125 ml (½ cup) red wine
  • 700 ml passata
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 500 g spaghetti

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


  1. Soak 5 of the dried shiitake mushrooms in 500 ml (2 cups) of boiling water. Transfer the other 3 to a spice grinder and grind to a fine powder with the shiokombu (if using). Set the powder aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium–high heat. Add the onion, garlic, carrot and celery and cook for about 5 minutes or until fragrant. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring regularly for about 20 minutes. Add the tomato paste and Vegemite and stir for 4-5 minutes. Add the shiitake steeping liquid, soy sauce, red wine, passata, bay leaf and oregano and bring to a simmer. Simmer uncovered for another 20 minutes or until the sauce is reduced and thick. Season with salt and black pepper.
  3. Cook the pasta according to packet directions, then drain, reserving some of the pasta cooking water.  
  4. In a large frying pan, add the pasta, extra olive oil and as much Bolognese sauce as you like, along with a little of the pasta water. Toss it all together and transfer to a serving plate. Serve scattered with the mushroom and kombu powder and parsley.



Adam Liaw cooks, laughs, and explores culture with some of Australia's most beloved in The Cook Up With Adam Liaw.

Photography by Danielle Abou Karam.