Here is another of my favourite dishes.  This one is my own original recipe, and has evolved over many years, originally based on my Mum’s classic meat bolognaise sauce that she used to make when I was a kid.  This one of course, is totally meat-free and tastes so much better than the plain mince-based one!
It’s easy to make, tastes delicious, and is full of good stuff.  I use it as my fall-back recipe, my “no-brainer” cooking, for nights when I’m too tired to do much, because I’ve made it so many times, it has become an almost automatic process.  I can have the sauce made in the time it takes me to boil the water and cook the pasta (less than 30 minutes).

It’s also great because it makes a big batch of sauce which I can then divvy up and freeze in individual serves, so on nights when I really couldn’t be bothered cooking much, all I have to do is just thaw one out, cook some pasta to go with it and I’m done.

Pasta Sauce a la Dyani

Ingredients:

2 large carrots, diced
1 large brown onion, finely chopped
2 or 3 teaspoons crushed garlic
1 red capsicum, diced
8-10 large button/ cup mushrooms, chopped
2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
1 small jar (200g) sundried tomato strips
140g tub tomato paste (or use 3-4 heaped spoonfuls)
1 teaspoon sugar
oregano, parsley, basil and pepper to season  ( I prefer to use fresh herbs because they taste so much better, but I often just use dried herbs if I’m in a hurry, or don’t have enough fresh ones handy)

 

Instructions:

Start by chopping the carrots then put them in a microwave dish with a little water and cook until just tender (don’t overcook them)

While the carrots are cooking, finely chop the onion
Pour a bit of the oil from the jar of sundried tomatoes into a large pot, and fry the onion and garlic in this until soft.
Add the capsicum, cook on medium – high heat until tender
Add the carrots too when they’re ready

Stir in tomato paste
Add chopped tomatoes and sundried tomato strips
Stir in sugar

Reduce heat and simmer
At this point you can add a little water if the sauce is too thick

Add the mushrooms to sauce (the mushrooms will absorb some of the liquid in the sauce, but then they’ll release it again as they cook, so don’t be tempted to add more water if the mix seems thick after adding the mushrooms, or you could end up with it being too watery at the end)
Season with herbs and freshly ground black pepper
(I use a LOT of herbs in my sauce as I love the flavours they produce, so don’t be afraid to use huge handfuls of fresh herbs, or a very generous sprinkling of dried ones into the pot)

Give it all a good stir and simmer until the mushrooms are cooked

Serve with cooked pasta of your choice.

 

Note: This sauce does taste better the longer it is cooked, so if you have time, make the sauce first, then let it continue to simmer along while you cook the pasta.  But if you’re in a hurry, do what I often do, and get the carrots in the microwave first, chop the onion, then do the rest while the pasta is cooking.  It still tastes great, and the whole meal is done in half an hour!

 

So give it a try and tell me what you think, and if you have a favourite vegetarian pasta recipe, please share it!


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