Now before I start and before the Italians get mad at me, I know that spaghetti Bolognese is not a traditional Italian dish. I was originally trying to make meatless meatballs, but they did not turn out as expected but I ended up with a great Bolognese sauce instead and that is the fun part of experimentation with food! (However, I will be doing a recipe for this soon, so stay tuned for this!)
With the rise of meatless options now hitting our shelves and becoming popular among vegetarians and even non vegetarians as a healthier alternative, I thought it would be a good idea to make a classic recipe for everyone to enjoy. This recipe is also vegan friendly except for the cheese and butter, so either feel free to skip it as it is not entirely essential or use a vegan substitute for Italian hard cheese and the butter.
Now this may look like a complicated recipe, but rest assured within around 1 hour if you follow this recipe you can serve up a delicious lunch or dinner and feed a lot of people, so let’s get started!
- 400g Meatless Mince (many supermarkets offer these kinds of products from Meatless Farm Co, Naked Glory, etc)
- Olive Oil
- 1 Whole Fennel
- 3/4 Stick of Celery
- 1 Carrot
- 400g Tin of Chopped Tomatoes
- 300g Passata
- Spoonful of Tomato Puree
- 1 Spoonful of Unsalted Butter
- Approximately 100ml of Water
- Sea Salt
- Black Pepper
- 6 – 8 Fresh Leaves of Basil
- 4 Stalks of Fresh Parsley (for the sauce and a few leaves for decoration)
- Approximately 350g Spaghetti (dry)
- Vegetarian Italian Hard Cheese (for the sauce and for decoration)
- Firstly, peel the carrot, and then dice the fennel, celery, and carrot rather finely as this will be the base for our sauce.
- Then in a large pan, heat up a generous amount of olive oil, and at a medium heat, gently fry the fennel, celery, and carrot until translucent and soft, try not to brown these vegetables.
- Once soft, add in the chopped tomatoes, passata, tomato puree, water and the butter and stir thoroughly until mixed well with the vegetables.
- For seasoning the sauce, chop up the fresh basil and parsley thinly and add it into the sauce along with generous amount of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, mix this into the sauce and let the sauce simmer on a low heat until oil and risen to the surface of the sauce.
- As the oil has risen, break up the meatless mince and add it into the sauce, and break it down further with a spoon within the sauce and stir the mince and sauce together. Grate in around 50g of the Italian hard cheese and stir. Once stirred, leave to simmer on a medium-low heat for around 30 minutes or until the sauce has thickened to the same consistency as shown in the above photo.
- To prepare the spaghetti, boil around 4 litres of water, or a little more depending on how much spaghetti you are using, add sea salt at this stage and be quite generous with the salt, the water should be as salty as the ocean, this is to ensure the pasta is adequately seasoned, so do not be afraid of using a lot of salt it will not be unhealthy.
- Once at a rolling boil, add the spaghetti to the salty boiling water and do not break the spaghetti in half unless you have a very small pan. Immediately start to stir the spaghetti to stop it from sticking together, and let it boil for around 8 minutes until al dente. Then drain the spaghetti but not completely you want to keep some moisture with the spaghetti otherwise it will dry out.
- To serve, place the spaghetti first with the Bolognese sauce on top, and finish it off with some more freshly grated Italian hard cheese and a few fresh leaves of parsley and enjoy!
And that is it! When you break it down into nice simple steps a dish as complex looking as this is really simple, and you will be sure to impress your friends and family while still eating healthily! Feel free to share how you got on with this recipe, I look forward to hearing how it goes.
See you soon!