The other night I was flipping through my mountains of cookbooks, searching for inspiration, when I saw a recipe from Barefoot Contessa for a "weeknight bolognese" dinner. In fact, I had been trying to get a good angle on some new uses for canned tomatoes (more on this later!), so this recipe just called out to me. I love cooking with canned tomatoes because they are so flavorful and easy to cook with. And as an avid runner, I am always in the market for a new pasta dish! This recipe is one step up from an earlier tomato sauce post, but it's just as simple and delicious.
Originally, I had intended to just omit the beef that the recipe called for, because it seemed easy enough. But when I opened my freezer, I saw some "crumbles" that I had purchased a few months ago from Quorn. According to my friend, and confirmed by the website, the principle ingredient of Quorn isn't soy, it's actually a form of fungi that is high in protein and low in fat. Sounds odd, but I threw in some of those crumbles to my cooked sauce and I had a thicker, richer, and healthier sauce. Triple bonus! Of course, you can omit the Quorn completely and you'll have a delicious pasta sauce, or you can cook it with beef according to the original recipe. But I happened to love my bolognese fake out, and I think you will too!
Pasta Bolognese Fake Out (Vegetarian Bolognese)
adapted from Barefoot Contessa
2 tbls olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbls dried oregano
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (more if you like more heat)
1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup vegetable stock
1 cup Quorn frozen "beef" crumbles
1 box of short pasta (small shells or orecchiette work well)
1/4 cup cream
Dash of nutmeg
Salt & pepper
Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add in the olive oil. Allow the oil to heat up a bit, then add in the garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Saute until the garlic is fragrant, then add the crushed tomatoes and vegetable stock. Season with salt and pepper. Allow the sauce to come up to a boil, then reduce the heat and let simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
In the meantime, bring a large pot of water up to a boil. Salt the water liberally, then cook the pasta according to the packaged directions.
Add the Quorn to the sauce and stir to heat up the crumbles. After a few minutes, stir in the cream and nutmeg, and taste for seasonings. Add more salt and pepper if needed.
When your pasta is finished cooking, drain and add to the pan of sauce. Stir to coat.
Serve up the pasta, and top each plate with some grated Parmesan cheese and basil if you have any on hand. Enjoy this classic pasta fake out!