Showing posts with label pasta. Show all posts
Showing posts with label pasta. Show all posts

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Sauce Bolognese

Did you think: "Huh? Has she abandoned being vegetarian?" upon reading the title?
Well, in case you did, no I haven't ;)

In fact, in our family there was a long pause from Sauce Bolognese that lasted for about ten years ever since my Mum started cooking vegetarian food.
This was one of the few things that I was sad about back then, since Sauce Bolognese, Lasagna Bolognese, Goulash and Schinkennudeln (= ham noodles) were, I think, the only meat-containing things that I ever truly liked. Well...liked. In that case...I loved them!

My Mum used to make large - and when I say large I mean large, such as two giant pressure cookers full - batches of sauce Bolognese for freezing, which was an afternoon filling task. I remember I used to leave the door of my room open when she did that, just because I loved the smell. And this has to say something since, as a kid, there were things upon smelling which I would hide in my room for a day. Probably that was a bit crazy, but well...

The original recipe is from a small cookbook on Italian cooking, which gives the most amazing Bolognese. It needs to cook for several hours, but the time is so worth it!

Then, two years ago, my Mum and I decided that we absolutely needed to try to make a vegetarian version of this sauce. So we tried and tested lots of recipes, but never got anywhere near the one we used to have. Usually it tasted more like a hash sauce than Bolognese.
And then, at some point, we thought we'd just forget about all the recipes and try and make the old recipe, changing minced meat for cooked green spelt.
It needed two tries and a bit of tweaking at the following tries, but by now the new vegetarian version is 95% close to the old version and tastes absolutely lovely, even if it is not 100% the same! But it can't be, since it is something different.

We've used the sauce in lasagna as well and it makes deliciously amazing lasagna!
I can only recommend this to you and I can promise that it does not taste like hash sauce, but like Bolognese! (Very important!) And it does live up to the original version!

Sauce Bolognese

Time: about an hour

for 4-6 servings
75 g green spelt, cracked
150 ml + red wine
50 g butter
180 g onions, chopped
200 g carrots, chopped
90 g celery, chopped
30 g dried tomatoes, in stripes
(only dried, no oil)
800 g
= 2 tins
chopped tinned tomatoes
200 ml vegetable stock
120 ml cashew milk (using about 15- 20 g cashew nuts)

  • In a small pot combine cracked green spelt and red wine. Bring to a boil and simmer, covered, on low for about ten minutes until the grains are soft. Add a bit of water if the wine evaporates too quickly. Switch off.
  • Melt butter in a medium to large pot, add the chopped vegetables and sauté for 5 to 10 minutes until softened.
    • When I make a large batch I chop vegetables using a food processor. For small batches I chop them by hand.
  • Add the green spelt and red wine mixture. Then add dried tomatoes, tinned tomatoes and vegetable stock.
  • Bring to a low boil and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.
  • Add the cashew milk and season with salt and pepper. Add more red wine if you think it tastes too much like tomato sauce. Leave to cook for another ten minutes.

Serve over spaghetti or other pasta or use for making lasagna.

The longer you cook the sauce, the better it tends to get.
The sauce freezes well and reheating (and thus cooking again) only enhances the flavour.

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Rich & Creamy Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce

Hi there on Sunday night! Do you have some time to spare for cooking something nice tomorrow? Or do you have a butternut squash you don't know what to do with?
Stay with me then until the recipe is revealed ;-)

In fact I did not have a plan today for what to make for dinner....
But since my housemate went to the market today and brought home lots of things - which is great, Thanks! :-) - I just decided to go for what looked like it needed to be eaten first.
In that case it was a butternut squash.

Have you tried it before? Butternut is a quite sweet-ish sort of squash. It has much more flavour than the usual Halloween pumpkin, which doesn't taste like anything to me if I'm honest. It was even my favourite squash before my housemate brought home some green squash for the first time. Unfortunately I don't know the name of that one right now, but it really is delicious!

In this sauce though, butternut squash works just fine!
You could use Hokkaido, which is probably the most popular pumpkin in Germany. The sauce will taste quite different, though, since Hokkaido does not taste anywhere as sweet when cooked. Sweet potato, in my opinion, is kind of too sweet. Carrot alone I haven't tried yet, but carrot mixed with squash is quite good as well!

The recipe I started from I found a few years ago here on Oh She Glows.
Since then me and my Mum have changed it a couple of times and the following is the current version ;-)

Due to the nutritional yeast the sauce tastes a bit cheesy and not at like "healthy vegetables" ;-)
It is rich and creamy and is a perfect comfort food for wintery or rainy days.
There are a lot of similar recipes out there on the internet. They often describe the sauce as a "Mac'n Cheese Sauce". Since I've never tried that I cannot tell you if it does indeed taste like that. So if you try this and you know traditional English/American Mac'n Cheese then I'd love to hear what you think about that comparison!

for 3 people
450 g butternut squash, in cubes
olive oil
1tbsp butter
26 g cashew nuts
200 g water
1-2 tbsp flour
2-3 tbsp nutritional yeast
½ tsp mustard (vinegary & tangy, not sweet)
1 garlic clove, grated
nutmeg (best is freshly grated)
300 g pasta
250 g spinach, fresh (cut) or thawed

  • Cut up the squash. I find it easiest to cut it into rounds (or half-rounds if you're on the part where you scoop out the seeds) and then to cut the peel off the rounds instead of trying to peel the whole thing.
  • Place in a baking tray and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle on olive oil. Put into the oven and roast at 220°C for 40 to 60 minutes, so that it is slightly browned.
  • In the meantime make the sauce:
    • Grind cashews in a blender until they are as fine as they get. Add water and blend again.
    • Melt butter over low heat in a medium-sized pot. Have a for or whisk at hand. Pour cashew milk into the pot and add flour. Whisk until smooth. Turn heat up slightly. You want the mixture to simmer over low heat. Add in nutritional yeast, mustard, grated garlic, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Whisk. Make sure that the sauce bubbles slightly and, whisking frequently, let bubble uncovered for about 7-10 minutes. Let stand until squash is roasted.
  • Heat pasta water and cut or thaw spinach.
  • When the squash is roasted, put it into the pot with the sauce. With a stick blender blend up the sauce. Alternatively you could do this is a blender or food processor. If you have neither I think it should work if you mash up the squash with a potato masher as fine as you can and then whisk the sauce. I haven't tried that though, but I'm quite confident it will work.
  • Taste and season as desired.

  • Cook pasta. Reserve some cooking water in a cup. Drain pasta. Place drained pasta along with the spinach into the pot with the sauce. Thin out with pasta water as desired. Let pasta simmer on very low heat in the sauce for about 3-5 minutes. This will let them absorb the sauce better and will let spinach wilt (if it is fresh).
  • Enjoy!

The sauce (at the stage where you've just blended it, before you add spinach) also freezes well!

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Very Green and Creamy Broccoli Sauce With Pasta

During this past week I've thought of so many things that I could put on my blog for you, but each time something was not quite right.

There was the Grape-and-Onion-Focaccia Bread I made for a vegan potluck-dinner this week, but actually I had not changed much in the recipe and you can find the (really good!!!) recipe on boxofspice. I can only recommend that, so have a look over there :-)
Second, I made a curry, but the cabbage in it did definitely not any bonus points to its taste...
Last night I roasted rutabaga/swede for the first time ever in my life and had that with some chickpeas, but that really was the very first stage of testing something and it needs some more goes. But I've got some ideas there! Some greens, orange zest and a dressing... hmmm!
This morning I made my favourite banana rolls, but they didn't seem 100% right to me even though they usually are great. So far, though, I've only eaten some crumbs (don't ever use greaseproof paper when you run out of baking paper - better go to the shop and get some...) and have frozen the rolls for lunches. So I haven't really tested the batch yet.

But that's the way it is - no trials, no fun ;-)

Today, though, I had broccoli sauce with pasta for dinner and it actually turned out the way I liked it to so that I can safely tell you how I made it.

This sauce makes broccoli taste so much better than any steamed broccoli you often get as a side dish. The mint gives it a fresh tang which fits in so well and the colour is simply amazing!

As I like pasta with a lot of sauce it was more sauce with pasta than the other way around, but feel free to adjust the ratio if you feel differently!

I blended the sauce in a high-speed blender - otherwise I recommend blending the cashew nuts before adding any other ingredients. Alternatively you could use cashew nut butter instead.
Nutritional yeast you can get in a health shop. I use it, because it has a slightly cheesy flavour, which I think is very nice! If you cannot find it and don't mind cheese you might like to use a small bit of parmesan (I haven't tried that, though!).

pasta with broccoli sauce

for 1for 2for 4servings of pasta (about 130 g each)
mint, to taste
3/4 cup (ca. 130 g)1 ½ cups (ca. 260 g)3 cups (ca. 520 g)broccoli, florets or pieces, stems can also be used
1/8 tsp¼ tsp½ tspsalt
3*6*12*pepper (turns of the grinder)
5-610-1220-24cashew nuts
1- 1 ½ tsp2-3 tsp4-6 tspnutritional yeast
¾ - 1 tsp1 ½ - 2 tsp3 – 4 tsplemon juice, to taste, start with less
olive oil (a small bit)
¼ tbsp½ tbsp1 tbspbutter
124garlic cloves

  • Steam the broccoli until soft (about 14 minutes). If you don't have a steaming basket you can use a metal colander/sieve and a matching pot with lid.
  • Heat butter on low heat in a small pot and sauté garlic until fragrant. Do not leave it unattended! It takes only about 2 minutes and it burns very easily!
  • While the broccoli cooks, put all other ingredients, including the garlic and butter, into a blender (see note above about cashew nuts).
  • When the broccoli is soft, retain the steaming liquid. Add broccoli and a bit of liquid to the blender.
  • Blend until very smooth. Adjust amount of liquid and seasonings to taste.
  • Cook pasta, drain and mix with the sauce.

This sauce also freezes well.

I would love to hear how you like it!