A classic here at Belleau Kitchen but this veggie bolognese pasta bake seems to get a lot of love every time I make it so worth sharing again. Plus this time I’m using these fabulous conchiglioni from the Sainsbury’s Taste The Difference range and they are truly epic. Great big giant spoon-shaped pasta shells that fill up with glorious sauce and just make the dish extra-special. Hunt them down if you can.
I’ve loved a bolognese sauce ever since we were kids and mum used to make it all through our youth. I don’t think her version, or even my version are particularly authentic but it’s the bolognese sauce that I recognise from my childhood and it’s damn fine. I’ve changed it a little from mum’s original recipe and of course I’m using a vegetarian mince but quite frankly the Quorn mince is so good, I just don’t know why you’d need to have meat in this dish, but please yourself of course. It’s a simple swap-out. As always with dishes like this, they taste best the next day. There’s something allowing them to go cold and then reheating them that adds to the flavour so if you can make this well in advance I’d recommend it.
- olive oil and butter
- 1 medium onion – peeled and finely chopped
- 1 medium carrot – finely diced
- 2 stalks of celery – finely diced
- fresh herbs – I used rosemary, thyme and a teaspoon of dried oregano
- 2 cloves of garlic – crushed
- 400g vegetarian mince
- 2 x 400ml tins of chopped tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon tomato puree
- 1 teaspoon of yeast extract (Marmite or similar)
- 400ml veggie stock (re-fil the jar)
- 100ml white wine
- 350g conchiglioni pasta (or any pasta of your choice)
- 150g strong cheddar – grated
- two large balls of mozzarella
warm up your 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 about 5 mins then as they begin to soften add garlic and the herbs and let the whole thing saute gently for at least five minutes more.
once the veg are soft 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, stock, chopped tomatoes, tomato puree and yeast extract 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!