As the ” “ in title suggest, this sauce is not the real Bolognese. To be the real thing it would have to include meat and this is not the case.
I love the original version and yet I often prefer to eat this one since it’s lighter, easier to digest and animal-friendly. The proteins derive from red lentils and mushrooms, a wonderful combination of textures and “meaty” flavours. This sauce is perfect for all pastas: standard, whole-wheat and ‘alternative’ , for example those made with pulses like red lentils, konjac and so forth.
You can prepare a big batch and freeze it in portions since it freezes beautifully. Always handy for a quick, hassle-free meal.
The whole world eats spaghetti with bolognese and we Italians find that quite weird since we usually pair this wonderful sauce with egg tagliatelle. Seen the fact that it’s not the classic recipe this time I prepared it with plain linguine. ?
Make sure you cook this for quite a long time. At least half an hour if you want to still clearly perceive the lentils in your mouth and 1-1,5 hr (adding some hot water from time to time to avoid sticking to the bottom of the pan) if you, like me, want them to totally “melted” in the sauce. The original Bolognese does not include basil but I find this lovely fresh herb goes wonderfully with this version.
Bolognese vegetariana / vegana
1 small onion or shallot, peeled
1 clove of garlic, peeled
2 bay leaves
1 pinch of ground cloves
1 celery stalk
100 gr. mixed mushrooms (I used chestnut champignons & portobellos)
½ glass of dry white wine
200 gr. passata di pomodoro (sieved tomatoes)
3 handfuls of red lentils (about 75-80 grams)
extra virgin olive oil
some fresh basil leaves
Chop the onion and the garlic finely and sauté gently in a pan with 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil until soft and translucent.
Add the chopped carrot and celery stalk and leave to soften for a few minutes, then add the chopped mushrooms and leave everything to cook gently for 2-3 minutes on a medium flame.
Pour the white wine in the pan, stir and wait till the alcohol evaporates completely, then add the passata, the red lentils, a pinch of ground cloves plus the bay leaves and leave to cook for at least ½ hour, preferably longer, on a very slow flame.
Add a bit of hot water from time to time and stir regularly. Ideally 1,5 hr. is a good slow-cooking time.
To make sure the sauce doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan it’s a good idea to use a flame diffuser.
Once the sauce is nice and thick season with salt and pepper and serve over pasta, garnishing with a few basil leaves.