Tempeh Bolognese

If using a packaged sauce for the bolognese, it's important to select one of quality. At Cafe Drake HRV we're head over heels for the Scarpetta brand.

The right texture is essential in creating the illusion of a meaty bolognese sauce. Finely chop the tempeh in to tiny chunks or, if you have the patience, grate it on the wide holes of a cheese grater.

When pan-frying the tempeh it will soak up ALL of the oil, no matter how much you add. Don't add more. Just keep stirring until the tiny cubes or particles begin to brown and develop crispy edges.

Sticking with the notion of vegan inventiveness, we topped our Pasta Bolognese not with Parmesan but rather nutritional yeast flakes and crushed red pepper. Nutritional yeast adds a "cheesey" flavor to almost any dish.

Begin by heating 2 T. olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. While the oil is warming, chop or shred 1 8-oz. package of tempeh in to tiny, tiny pieces. Throw the tempeh in the pan and stir almost constantly for two minutes. If you're using a non-stick skillet or saucepan you shouldn't have any worries.

Now add to the skillet 1 peeled and diced large carrot and a handful of chopped onion and celery. We used lovage leaves instead of celery because we grow the herb here at Cafe Drake HRV and can't find enough hours in the day to enjoy it! Saute the veggies for a couple of minutes before stirring in 1 jar of your favorite marinara or meatless bolognese sauce.

Now add to the pan 3/4 cup dry red wine and 1 clove of minced garlic. Simmer on low, covered, for 10 minutes. Remove the cover and cook until the sauce has reached a thicker, richer consistency. Season to taste with salt, black pepper and a dash or two of sugar if desired.

Toss the sauce with your favorite cooked and drained pasta (12 oz. dried pasta is the perfect amount here), reheating the two together for a couple of minutes to meld flavors. Serve the pasta bolognese dusted with nutritional yeast flakes and crushed red pepper and drizzled with olive oil.


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