Vegan mushroom ragu
Earthy chestnut mushrooms, red lentils and walnuts come together to create this hearty vegan ragu, packed with umami flavours and 'meaty' textures. You may make more ragu than you need but it freezes well – freeze any leftovers in portions
- Serves: 6 persons
- 100g walnuts
- 500g chestnut mushrooms
- 4tbsp olive oil, plus a drizzle
- 1large onion, finely chopped
- 2carrots, finely chopped
- 2stalks celery, finely chopped
- 2cloves garlic, crushed
- 3tbsp tomato purée
- 200ml vegan red wine
- 1sprig rosemary
- ½a small bunch basil, leaves picked, finely chopped
- 400g tin chopped tomatoes
- 600ml vegetable stock
- 250g red lentils, rinsed
- 2bay leaves
- 1tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 600g wide pasta (such as mafalde, pappardelle or paccheri)
- ½a small bunch sage, leaves picked
- 1tbsp capers, drained
- shaved vegan hard cheese, to serve (optional)
Step 1Tip the walnuts into a food processor and pulse to finely chop. Transfer to a bowl, then do the same with the mushrooms.
Step 2Heat the oil in a heavy-based pan over a medium heat and fry the onion, carrots and celery with a pinch of salt for 15-20 minutes or until soft and lightly golden. Add the garlic and fry for another minute. Add the mushrooms and most of the walnuts, and cook for 10-15 minutes or until the mushrooms have softened, all the water has evaporated and they have reduced by half. Stir in the tomato purée and cook for another 5 minutes.
Step 3Add the wine and bubble for a minute, then add the rosemary, basil, tomatoes and stock. Bring to a simmer. Add the lentils and bay. Cover and simmer for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally, then simmer with the lid off for 10 minutes until thickened. Stir in the balsamic, and season. Top up with a little water during cooking if the ragu seems too thick. Taste, then remove the herbs and add more balsamic, to taste, if you like.
Step 4Cook the pasta in a pan of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain, reserving 100ml of the water. Heat a drizzle of oil in a small frying pan and fry the sage and capers for 1 minute until crisp. Toss the pasta in the ragu, adding a splash of the cooking water, depending on how saucy you like it. Scatter with the crispy sage, capers and reserved walnuts, and vegan cheese, if you like.