The kids love pasta so we tend to serve it at least once a week. We usually do what’s easiest which, for us, is to grill a bunch of veg on the BBQ and toss with olive oil, tonnes of fresh chopped herbs, and sometimes some crumbled feta. If there is leftover chicken or sausage, I serve myself and then add the meat to the dish after the fact.

I decided last night to be a little bit more adventurous and try something new so I came up with this mushroom ragù alla bolognese. There’s something about bolognese sauce that strikes a cord in the dead of winter – it’s hearty, and warming, and comforting. But all that ground beef? Mmmm, not so much. And even though the kids bugged me about my “meatless meat sauce” it got full thumbs-up and plates were licked clean. Literally.

2 tbsps olive oil

2 large onions, diced

3 carrots, diced

2 celery stalks, diced

5  cloves garlic, minced

4 – 5 cups of mushrooms, various including portobello, cremimi, and shitake), chopped very finely

1 can crushed tomatoes

1/4 cup tomato paste

1 glass red wine

2 tsps organic cane sugar

2 bay leaves

lots of fresh herbs (basil, thyme, oregano parsley) or dried if you don’t have fresh

sea salt and pepper

Heat olive oil in a heavy bottomed pot. Add onions and sauté until translucent and soft. Add carrots and celery and sauté until cooked. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, another 2 minutes or so. Add finely chopped mushrooms (I chopped mine in a food processor to speed up the process and make sure they were chopped enough). Sauté until mushrooms have sweated and most of the moisture has cooked off.

Once veggies are nicely cooked, add glass of red wine. Let simmer for a few minutes. Add crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar, bay leaves and herbs. Bring to a boil and then simmer over low heat for awhile. I didn’t have much time so only simmered for about 15 minutes but longer would be better as all good sauces need time to meditate, get to know themselves, and sink into deeper levels of harmony. 1 hour or more would be ideal. Along the way, add salt and pepper to taste until it’s perfect.

Serve over spaghetti or tagliatelle. You could serve it over any pasta but really it should be spaghetti or tagliatelle as is the tradition in Bologna. They take their pasta/sauce combos very seriously and I gotta say, they have a point.