Amelie Rose’s Mushroom and Walnut Bolognaise
The original recipe comes from one of our favourite vegetarian cook-books (Gaia’s Kitchen by Julia Ponsonby of the Schumacher College). This is a fabulous book for anyone looking for some really hearty vegetarian food, especially for anyone who cooks for larger groups as all of the recipes have instructions for how to scale up the quantities and timescales in order to feed up to 40 people.
We’ve tinkered with the original recipe a little in order to take account of our galley and also to squeeze some more colourful veggies into the mix – good for health as well as for enlivening an otherwise somewhat beige result!
We normally serve this with piles of home-cooked garlic bread, a nice green salad and a bowl of parmesan cheese for those of us who can’t quite give up completely on dairy.
Serves 8 hungry sailors!
- 2 medium white onions
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 2-3 tsp sea salt
- A couple of glugs of olive oil for frying
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 200g walnut pieces. (Essentially a standard supermarket sized bag. If you have the option go for the pieces as opposed for walnut halves as it’s cheaper this way and you’re going to break them up anyway.)
- Approx 600g sliced mushrooms (any mushrooms will do, the meatier the better).
- 2-4 carrots – diced into 5-10mm chunks.
- 2 red peppers – diced into 5-10mm chunks.
- 1 tin chopped tomatoes.
- Approx 3 tbsp tomato puree (we tend to use 1 whole small tin because the tins are easier to recycle).
- 2 tbsp soy sauce – the darker the better!
- 2 small / 1 large aubergine, cubed and salted.
- 1 large glass of red wine or sherry (leaving the rest of the bottle for…)
- 400ml of good vegetable stock (we use Kallo Organic v. low salt – but any vegetarian stock will do).
- 2 tsp oregano.
- Approx 150ml cream (use oat cream for the vegan version).
- Pasta. (We love to use Seeds of Change Organic Spinach Trotolle for the fab colour and interesting shape, but the sauce works with pretty much anything including the many gluten free options around these days.)
- Fresh Parsley and either grated cheddar or parmesan to serve… (For a tasty vegan cheese option, we’ve found that the Tesco “Free From” Jalapeno & Chilli Cheddar is pretty good, firm enough to grate, and the jalapeno gives the whole dish a bit of a kick!)
Now do this:
Turn the oven on to 180-200 deg C, spread the walnut pieces on a baking tray (breaking them up as you go into 5-10 mm chunks). Now pop the tray in the oven for 10 mins or so. Whatever you do, don’t go up on deck at this point and faff about trying to anchor because, like me, you’ll forget to pull them out before they burn! You’re looking for a nice golden caramel colour (see the before/after pictures) – pick out any slightly over-cooked bits because they’ll be bitter.
Whilst the nuts are cooking chop up the aubergine into 1-2cm chunks (skin on) and put it in a colander or sieve – sprinkle with sea salt and leave it somewhere to drain. (Liquid will drop out so over a sink or bowl is best.)
Chop up the onion, carrots and garlic and chuck in a saucepan with the oil and the cinnamon and ginger. Cook over a medium heat until the onions start to go translucent.
Rinse the salt off the aubergine chunks and add them and the mushrooms – cook for 5 minutes or so until the mushrooms have sweated out their moisture. Add the walnuts, red peppers and oregano.
Now add the walnuts, red peppers and oregano, tomatoes and puree, soy sauce, red wine and about half of the stock (i.e. all the remaining ingredients apart from the cream). Continue to cook for another 25-30 minutes adding more stock if the sauce gets too thick.
Don’t forget to start cooking your pasta at the appropriate juncture!
Once the pasta is nearly done spoon out about a quarter/third of the mixture into a mixing bowl and blend it fairly roughly with a rod blender or hand whisk. Recombine it with the rest of the sauce and stir in the cream.
Now mix the sauce thoroughly into your drained pasta. Garnish with the parsley and serve with salad and garlic bread.
Bon appetite! Don’t forget to let me know how you get on in the comments below.
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