… another crazy week… I planned to get Pancake Day out of the way and then post this recipe yesterday but of course life got in the way. I don’t know about you but when i’m this busy it can be hard to find the time to eat properly. I try really hard to not rely on a constant stream of sandwiches and you’d have thought that working in the heart of London i’d have the world at my lobster for the choice of stuff to stuff my face with but there’s so much fast food and most of it really isn’t that healthy. I tend to rely on the old fashioned Marks and Spencer salad pot or good old reliable Pret but it does get dull… and then in the evening i’m so tired I just want to get home and crawl into bed. With this in mind and the fact that i’ve started this mental new fitness regime of early morning HIIT classes i’ve come to rely on breakfast as the main and most consistent meal of the day. Now as you know I adore eggs and I love breakfast and particularly at the weekend never miss it but the brilliant thing about London is that there are so many incredible places to get a pretty decent breakfast. From the divine bacon naan at Dishoom to a good old-fashioned scrambled egg doorstop sandwich at our local cafe Scott’s. So much choice it makes me happy and sets me up for the day ahead with an eggy smile on my face!
veggie bolognese pasta bake
I was inspired this week by Jaq over at Tinned Tomatoes who made a batch of vegan bolognese and it looked so good I simply had to make some of my own. I had also recently purchased the largest and fattest rigatoni i’d ever seen and I was desperately waiting for an excuse to use them so I thought this pasta bake would be ideal. My recipe, much like Jaq’s is inspired by a family recipe. My mum used to make bolognese sauce regularly when we were kids, I think it was a particular 19070’s and 80’s classic dinner (we used to serve it with that dreadful dried parmesan which tastes like vomit but I secretly loved) and I think it was possibly one of the first meals my mum taught me to cook, starting the the classic soffritto of celery, carrots and onions that represent the Italian flag. I’ve adapted it over the years and of course this one uses vegetarian mince instead of meat and quite frankly you really don’t need the meat in this dish. There’s a he amount of cheese in here too but this time i’m using the proper stuff!
i’m trying to do as many meals as I can as ‘one-pot’ meals which help on washing up and makes things so easy… so for this you need a really large shallow pan with a lid.
- olive oil and butter
- 1 medium onion – peeled and finely chopped
- 2 medium carrots – finely diced
- 2 stalks of celery – finely diced
- 1 punnet of button mushrooms – quartered
- fresh herbs – I used rosemary, thyme and a teaspoon of dried oregano
- 3 drops Holy Lama garlic
- 400g vegetarian mince
- 1 400ml jar passata or your favourite tomato sauce for pasta
- 400ml veggie stock (re-fil the jar)
- 1 glass red wine
- 250g large rigatoni pasta (or any pasta of your choice)
- 150g strong cheddar – grated
- two large balls of mozzarella
- 150g parmesan – grated
warm up you pan, add a generous amount of butter and olive oil and once the butter has melted, add the soffritto of onions, celery and carrots, stir and let them shimmy in the pan for a while, as they begin to soften add the mushrooms and garlic drops (or fresh crushed garlic,) the herbs and let the whole thing saute gently for at least five minutes.
once the veg are beginning to soften add the vegetarian mince, stir well and let it all sizzle together for at least another 5-8 mins or until the veg are beginning to colour and the mince is soft
add the wine, tomato sauce and liquid and stir well… turn the heat down to the very lowest and let it gently plop away for at least an hour, the longer you leave it the better
meanwhile cook the pasta in boiling water until just al dente, draw and set aside
pre-heat the oven to 160C
after at least an hour, stir all the cheddar and parmesan and one of the mozzarella balls into the sauce until stringy and melted, then add the pasta and stir together ensuring all the pasta holes are filled, then top with the last mozzarella ball torn into bits on top. Place the lid on top and pop it into the oven for 20 mins with the lid on and 10 mins with the lid off
eat and of course, enjoy!