Continuing my exploration of A Girl Called Jack budget recipe book. Today, lentil Bolognese. This is actually a sauce which can be used as part of a pizza topping, pitta filling, or – my choice today – pasta topping.
Did a little reading on Bolognese sauce first. What is it?
Learned that it is a kind of ragù, an Italian sauce with meat as a main ingredient and served with pasta. The first published example was in 1891 by Italian businessman and author Pellegrino Artusi, and included minced beef, various vegetables, herbs, spices and pancetta bacon – an Italian speciality of seasoned, cured, unsmoked belly pork.
Artusi was able to take an early retirement from his business dealings thanks to a generous inheritance, and his 1891 book is seen as a national treasure as it had recipes from all over the then only recently united country of Italy. His Ragù alla Bolognese was one of these, inspired by dishes he seen when visiting the city of Bologna.
Lacking meat, technically the following recipe is not a ragù at all …
- 1 onion.
- 1 carrot.
- 1 clove of garlic.
- tablespoon of oil.
- flat teaspoon each of thyme and parsley.
- 1 vegetable stock cube.
- 400g tin chopped tomatoes.
- 100g lentils.
- tomato sauce.
- 50g grated cheese.
- 100g pasta.
Fine chop the onion. Crush and chop up the garlic clove. Grate the carrot.
Rinse the lentils. Bit of a debate on the internet, to rinse or not to rinse, but it seems a good idea to get any husk remnants or factory dust off.
Fry the onion, carrot and garlic together until the onion is soft. Add the herbs, stock cube, chopped tomatoes (including the juice), lentils and a generous squeeze of ketchup and simmer for 25 minutes. Put the pasta on the boil while you’re doing this.
Serve mixed in with the pasta and the grated cheese on top.
It was a filling meal. Not hugely tasty, but good enough, filling and nutritious. I omitted the red wine of Jack’s recipe (allergic to the sulphite in wine and an unnecessary cost anyway). It was enough for three meals. With electricity, washing-up costs and a cup of tea, 61p a meal.
NOTE: Unlike to previous recipe, which, although initially very tasty, lost flavour in a few hours, this dish had gained flavour after standing. I had a bowl of it the next day for lunch. 13 Feb.