Mushroom Ragu – Vegan and Delicious!
Happy New Year! I think we can all agree that last year was not what anyone expected. So, like many other people, I am going into 2021 with no preconceived plan of what my year will hold. I’ve never been one to make new year’s resolutions, in fact, last year was the first time I had set out some intentions or resolutions for the year! One was not to buy any new clothes, which I maintained until September (my favourite hoodie from hush shrank in the wash, and I felt I had to replace it) and the other was to try and learn Welsh. I can confidently say that I have used Duolingo and have studied Welsh every day for 350 days straight – so in 15 days I can say I have studied Welsh for a full year. But have I learned Welsh, no, not really. I can kind of read it. Definitely can’t speak it, and can only understand spoken Welsh if it’s said very slowly using the few words that I sort of know. But the intention was there!
Another thing I’ve been trying to do is eat less meat. Now that I have found a kind of Tofu I like (specifically Cauldron, preferably Teriyaki) this is a lot easier. But I’ve also been looking around for other recipes that don’t use tofu. I am not a fan of beans, in any format. So this eliminates most of the vegan recipes I seem to come across. But then I found one that substituted minced beef for mushrooms in a pasta sauce. I’ve since made it a few times, and I feel it’s got to the stage where I have tweaked it until I like it.
You do need a lot of mushrooms! When I make it for two I used about 500g of mushrooms (a mixture of Shitake and Chestnut). I sometimes throw in some Oyster mushrooms if I have some in the fridge that are past their best.
You then need to spend a considerable amount of time cleaning them and chopping them. This process is made a lot easier if you have a decent brush to clean the mushrooms with. I use an Iris Hantwerk brush, and even though it is a bit pricey (considering it is for mushrooms) we use it all the time! This picture shows the pile of mushrooms at the halfway stage!
I fry them in a saute pan with some onion and garlic. When you first add them to the pan it looks like a ridiculous amount of mushrooms!
But once the mushrooms have cooked down it looks much more reasonable.
Then I add in tomato paste, chilli paste, chopped tomatoes, vegetable stock, white wine and balsamic vinegar and leave it to simmer until it is thick. I tend to check the seasoning towards the end and this time I needed to add in some salt and sugar.
Then I cook some pasta (adding in a spoon of pasta water to the ragu sauce), the type of pasta varies depending on what I had in the cupboard – today was penne. Once the pasta is cooked I stir it through the sauce and serve.
This sauce is really versatile. Sometimes I add in other vegetables as well, or switch out the vegetable stock for mushroom stock, which really ups the umami!
- 500 g Mushrooms
- 1 tbsp Olive Oil
- 2 Shallots
- 4 cloves Garlic
- 5 tbsp White Wine (optional)
- 70 g Tomato Puree
- 1 tsp Chilli Paste
- 400 g Tin Chopped Tomatoes
- 1 Vegetable Stock Cube (or Mushroom)
- 1 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
- Salt and Sugar (to taste)
- 150 g Dried Pasta
- Prepare the mushrooms, shallots and garlic by washing/peeling (if necessary) and chopping.
- Heat the olive oil in a pan and fry the onions until soft. Add the mushrooms and fry until reduced in size. Add the garlic and continue to fry until fragrant.
- Add in the wine and cook until you can't smell alcohol any more.
- Add in the tomato puree and chilli paste and stir until well combined with the vegetables.
- Add in the tin of tomatoes, crumble in the stock cube. Stir well.
- Fill the now empty tin with water and add to the pan. Add in the vinegar and stir well.
- Leave to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has reduced and thickened.
- Tase the sauce and add salt and sugar if necessary.
- Cook your pasta according to the packet instructions You can add some pasta water to the sauce to loosen it slightly before serving (plus it adds in some pasta starch and makes it even more delicious).
- Drain the pasta and stir into the sauce. Serve and enjoy!