When Silvia was 18, her Monday home-from-school tradition was to cook a pot full of pasta and eat all of it plain while watching the latest Game of Thrones episode. Fortunately for us, both her palate and intestine have evolved greatly since then and, fortunately for humanity as a whole, Game of Thrones’ final season is but a vague collective memory today.
This pasta recipe is loosely inspired by the traditional bolognese, but it includes more vegetables and uses a vegan substitute for ground meat. Gabriel hopes that no former colleagues or flatmates come after his head if they read this. In the traditional bolognese, the meat is cooked in the sauce, but the day we make it we like to serve it with crispy plant-based ground “meat” straight from the pan. Afterwards, we store the leftovers with the sauce in one of the countless containers that Silvia bought after she awakened to the wonders of adulthood.
Ingredient-wise, you could use canned tomatoes, passata or tomato paste, but why not enjoy the good things in life and use fresh tomatoes. Zucchini is one of our favourite vegetables because of its versatility and its subtle flavour. We like to add it to our recipes for an extra dose of veggies, so we use it all year round, even though it’s in season only in summer. Shame, shame! Damnit, we brought Game of Thrones to our minds again.
- 4 garlic cloves or as many as you can mince before you get tired
- 1 onion
- 1 small zucchini
- (Optional) 1 celery stalk
- (Optional) 1 small carrot
- 2 tomatoes
- 250 g pasta of your choosing
- 200 g frozen vegan ground “meat”
- 1 tablespoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon paprika (you don’t have to use Pimentón de la Vera this time)
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- (Optional) Half a teaspoon of pepper
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- (Optional) Grated cheese, for serving
Mince the garlic and onion. Heat half the oil over medium in a perfectly normal-sized pot and fry the garlic until it’s golden. Add the onion.
Cut the zucchini in small pieces and add it to the pot. Season with salt. Proceed analogously with the celery and/or carrot if you are using any. Stir occasionally.
While the vegetables are frying, fill a small pot with boiling water. Cut the tomatoes’ skin like this and put them in the boiling water for about 20 seconds. Remove them from the water and try to peel them without burning yourself. Discard the water in the small pot.
Cut the peeled tomatoes into chunks (the size doesn’t matter much since they will break apart later) and add them to the pot. Add oregano, paprika, one teaspoon of garlic powder and (optionally) pepper. Season with salt again. Let the sauce cook for about 30 minutes or at least until the tomatoes soften.
When the sauce is nearly done, cook the pasta following the instructions on the package and fry the vegan ground “meat” in a pan with one tablespoon of oil and the rest of the garlic powder.
(Optional) Blend the sauce if you prefer a more velvety texture
Serve and devour. We usually serve the pasta first, then the sauce and vegan ground “meat” at the end. You can also add shredded cheese on top if you want. Enjoy!