There's definitely an art to making the perfect meatless bolognese. Beef mince used in a traditional bolognese packs a lot of flavour due to its high fat content, hence I make sure that my meatless version is full of herbs, carrots, celery, wonderful mushrooms (both dried porcini and chesnut), sliced sundried tomatoes, as well as a slosh of red wine, olive oil and a pinch of chili for good measure.
INGREDIENTS (Serves 4)
300g frozen quorn mince
4 tbsp olive oil
1 large white onion, very finely diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 carrots, finely diced
3 sticks of celery, sliced
2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme
125ml of red wine
200g chesnut mushrooms, diced
100g of british speciality mushrooms
handful of dried porcini mushrooms
400g tin of chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp vegetarian Worcestershire sauce
1 vegetable stock cube, dissolved in 300ml hot water
1 tbsp tomato puree
2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp of dried chili flakes
Salt and pepper to taste
500g fresh spaghetti
Hard cheese of your choice, grated to serve (optional)
Prepare the onion, garlic and vegetables ready for cooking. Meanwhile, boil the kettle and cover your porcini mushrooms with boiling water leaving them to re-hydrate.
Preheat 2 tbsp of the oil over a medium to high heat in a large saucepan, add the onion, garlic, celery, carrot and whole sprigs of thyme, cooking for 2-3 minutes and stirring often. Add the chesnut and mixed mushrooms, cover and cook over a medium/high heat stirring frequently for about five minutes until all the vegetables are soft. Add the sun-dried tomatoes and the red wine and turn up the heat to high.
Once the wine has evaporated, add the Quorn Mince, chopped tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, vegetable stock, tomato puree, porcini mushrooms (with liquid), the remaining olive oil, chili and oregano. Stir well, cover and cook for 15-20 minutes until the sauce has thickened, loosen with more water if needed.
Meanwhile, cook the fresh spaghetti according to pack instructions.
Season generously with salt and pepper then serve with grated cheese.