Bolognese has long been one of my ‘staples’ and doesn’t everyone have their own take on it? Since giving up meat I have tried a number of meat-alternatives in place of beef, including Quorn (ok), Tesco’s own-brand (horrible, really odd flavour which persists no matter how much you try to flavour it), Linda McCartney’s (good) and “Meat the alternative (surprisingly authentic). But then I tried the lentil ragu at Bella Italia, and it was seriously good. And I realised perhaps I didn’t need a soya-based meat alternative to make a tasty bolognese.
This recipe is taken from Anna Jones ‘A modern way to cook’:
2 carrots, 3 tbsp olive oil, 1 onion, 400g tin of lentils, 350ml jar of passata, 1/2 stock cube, 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar, 2 tsps medjool chilli chutney (I used this instead of the 2 medjool dates and 1 de-seeded red chilli it specifies).
Peel and dice the carrots, and fry in a heavy pan with the oil. Finely chop the onion, add and cook for 10 minutes. Add the lentils, pasta and veg stock with half a tin of hot water. Add the chilli chutney and the vinegar. Simmer for 25 mins till the sauce is nice and thick. Then take half the lentil sauce and mash with a potato masher then return to rest of the sauce. Pick your favourite pasta and serve with artfully placed basil leaves…