Spread it on the base of a pizza or layer it in an epic lasagne, you can’t go wrong. Minimum cooking time is 45 mins - 1 hr and if it’s Sunday and you’re cleaning the house, just let it simmer away – the longer the better.
Perfectly made bolognese is right up there with freshly washed sheets, new socks or an unwatched season of a good new TV show. And the next best feeling to eating pasta with perfectly made bolognese is having a second batch in your fridge/freezer for another day. Make a double batch of this recipe and you can thank us later.
- 80 ml (2½ fl oz/⅓ cup) extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 brown onion, diced
- ½ carrot, diced
- 1 large celery stalk, diced
- 6–8 button mushrooms, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tbsp capers, minced
- 2 tbsp caper juice from the jar
- ½–1 tsp chilli flakes (depending on how hot you like it)
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 3 tbsp tomato paste (concentrated purée)
- 200 g (7 oz/2 cups) vegetable mince or soaked TVP (Textured Vegetable Protein)
- 250 ml (8½ fl oz/1 cup) unsweetened soy milk (or your favourite milk)
- 250 ml (8½ fl oz/1 cup) red wine
- 400 g (14 oz) fresh or tinned diced tomatoes
- 700 g (1 lb 9 oz) passata (puréed tomatoes)
- 250 ml (8½ fl oz/1 cup) vegetable stock
- 2 tsp porcini powder
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ bunch of basil, torn
- big handful of flat-leaf (Italian) parsley leaves, chopped
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.
Heat the oil in a large saucepan or high-sided pot over a medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, celery and mushrooms and sprinkle with a big pinch of salt. Fry until soft and beginning to turn a light golden colour.
Stir in the garlic, capers and caper juice, chilli flakes, oregano and tomato paste and cook for another minute, or until the garlic no longer smells raw. Add the vegetable mince and stir until well coated.
Pour in the soy milk and stir, scraping any bits from the bottom of the pan, until it has been almost completely absorbed. Add the wine and simmer until reduced by half, then add all the remaining ingredients except the fresh herbs.
Season to taste with salt and pepper, then stir well and cover with a lid, leaving it slightly ajar. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour, stirring often.
Once cooked, check the sauce. Depending on what tomatoes you have used, you may want to add a little sugar if it’s too acidic.
To finish, remove the bay leaf, stir through the basil and parsley, and adjust the seasoning.
•“Heads up, this is a VEGAN cookbook. When we use words like milk, butter and meat, we’re referring to substitutes. Not all kinds of milk, butter and meats come from animals, and the ones we use only come from plants.” Use your favourite plant-based options.
• You can find TVP or Textured Vegetable Protein in health food stores. It's definitely worth getting, is cost-effective and great for recipes that call for longer cooking i.e. chilli or this bolognese (though Shannon's preference is veggie mince if you can source it).
Recipe and image from Smith & Deli-cious: Food From Our Deli (that happens to be vegan) by Shannon Martinez & Mo Wyse (Hardie Grant Books, hbk, RRP $50), is available in stores nationally.