This isn’t a bolognese, I know that because my proper bolognese with tons of pork and beef is the stuff of dreams. There really isn’t a word for this sauce, it’s vegetable based but as meaty as you can get without the meat. I’m knee deep in writing my third cookbook, a love letter to produce (sans meat) and as much as I adore meat, I’m exploring my infatuation with plants right now.
I want to write you a book so full of beautiful dishes that you won’t even notice that I left out meat, it’s not just for vegetarians, it’s for anyone who loves food and beer. There is no tofu or tempeh, nothing that feels like a glaring reminder that this isn’t a meat dish. Because when you have the entire spectrum of plants to play with, the food has no reason not to be amazing.
This is a remake of my favorite pasta sauce, Sout Bolognese, but without the meat. I’ve made it in a very similar fashion (don’t forget the milk, it’s an essential part of flavor development) with a little more spice, and with mushrooms to make it hearty and unforgettable. It’s even better the next day.
- 2 tablespoon (20g) olive oil
- 2 ribs (100g) celery, chopped
- ½ of one large white onion, chopped
- 1 large (120g) carrot, chopped
- 2 lbs crimini mushrooms, finely chopped
- 2 teaspoon (16g) salt
- ¼ cup (50g) Mama Lil’s (pickled Hungarian goat horn peppers)
- 1 cup (268g) whole milk
- 12 ounces (340g) stout
- 2 teaspoon (8g) black pepper
- 1 teaspoon (6g) garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon (6g) onion powder
- ½ teaspoon (3g) smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon (6g) cumin
- 1 teaspoon (8g) red pepper flakes
- *Parmesan rind (optional)
- 1 teaspoon (6g) red peppers
- 1.5 lbs (680g) crushed tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon (16g) tomato puree
- 2 tablespoons (30mL) balsamic vinegar
- 1 cup (80g) fresh shaved or shredded parmesan
- ¼ cup chopped parsley
- 6 servings pasta
- Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the celery, onions, and carrot. Cook until the vegetables have softened and the onions have started to caramelize, at least 15 minutes and up to 45 (the longer you allow the onions to caramelize, the better the overall flavor).
- Add the mushrooms, sprinkle with salt, cook until dark and softened.
- Add the milk and allow to cook until the milk looks as though it is mostly cooked off, the pan looks dry and the mushrooms are starting to stick to the pan, about 30 minutes.
- Add half of the stout, cooking until the beer is mostly gone, about 15 minutes.
- Stir in the spices, tomatoes, tomato puree, remaining beer and balsamic (plus Parmesan rind, if using) cook over medium/low heat (very low simmer), for three to four hours (you can transfer the sauce to a slow cooker instead, cook on low for 8 hours).
- Stir in the Parmesan in the last ten minutes of cooking.
- Serve over pasta, sprinkle with parsley and additional Parmesan if desired.