“……… I DO THIS, MY WAY! …..”
Meatless Bolognese all Paseo
June is the month of Saint Antony of Padova and for many years we have travelled to this lovely city, saying our prayers at the shrine in the Basilica and seeing our friends, some of whom actually live or work at the Basilica.
But alas, this year sadly we were not able to travel – but we do so hope that there will be soon a ‘next time’.
So it was a chance for me to telephone a couple of our friends in Padova and have one of our pleasant little chats.
Whilst speaking with Antonia, she somehow mentioned a mutual visit to a charming restaurant on our last trip called “Bastioni Del Moro” in Via Pilade Bronzetti (roughly translated to “Ramparts of the Moor”). This is a place which is mostly frequented by locals. We always prefer those kind of restaurants whilst abroad.
Antonia, who is a Vegetarian, ordered her food, Spaghetti con Bolognese. This raised an eyebrow with me – Bolognese? How could she!!! She just smiled and urged me to taste from her plate. And gosh, was I glad I did – it was absolutely delicious and no mincemeat (Keema) in sight. Pure vegetarian, a dish laden with beautiful vegetables and lentils and I really did not miss the meat at all. To be honest, I had forgotten all about this dish and now, speaking to her, I wanted this recipe very badly.
Since then I have made this “Bolognese” a few times, served with pasta, rice, to be eaten with chapatti or naan. Next time I will make thin pancakes, stuff those with my “Bolognese” and serve this dish as a ‘faux lasagne’.
So here it is, and I am happy to share it with you. Of course, as usual, I have given this recipe a little tweak here and there. Do give it a try and you too will be surprised how truly delicious it is.
1 x large onion, finely chopped
4 x garlic cloves (crushed or finely chopped)
3 x carrots, coarsely grated
2 x large celery sticks – chopped
2 x Tbsp Olive oil
½ x cup of red lentils
4 x large tomatoes, chopped
1 ½ x Tbsp tomato puree
2 x cups vegetable stock
1 x Tbsp mixed (dry) Italian herbs
1 x Tbsp Kashmiri Chilli powder
Salt and pepper to taste
And this is how I made it:
Gently fry Onion, garlic, carrots and celery in oil for appr 5 minutes or until they are all soft.
Add lentils, tomatoes, tomato puree, stock, herbs and chilli powder as well as salt and pepper. Stir.
Cover vessel partially with a lid and simmer for 20 or so minutes – timing depends on how soft you want your lentils.
That’s it – enjoy.