Not My Grandmother's Bolognese

March 10, 2010 | By | Comments (4)

 

Italian food is in my blood – literally.  My father's family is from Capistrano, Italy and when his grandmother, his Noni, stepped off that ship onto Ellis Island in the early 1900's, she brought with her all of our family's food traditions and treasured recipes that have been passed down through the generations – all the way to me!

My dad is a fantastic cook – even though he claims every sauce he makes is "not his best" – (in fact, if I had to choose my last meal on this Earth, it would be my father's spaghetti sauce with my mother's meatballs, sprinkled with good Romano cheese and served with a big hunk of crusty Italian bread – and yes, I'm drooling).  As I got older my dad started showing me each step to make his famed spaghetti sauce and, through tasting, watching and many attempts, I think I could make Noni proud.

Now, here's the dilemma, what's a (meat-free) girl to do when she's craving spaghetti Bolognese?  Improvise!  Here is my version of my family's traditional spaghetti Bolognese – just, minus the meat.

**Please keep in mind that my father didn't teach me his sauce recipe using measurements, it was "a little of this" and "a dash of that", so I came up with approximate measurements.  Feel free to adapt to your taste!

My Italian "Meat" Sauce

1 Box of Pasta

8 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil (divided)

2 tsp Red Pepper Flakes (divided)

2 Garlic Cloves, crushed (divided)

1 tsp Dried Rosemary

1 Can Italian Plum Tomatoes (whole or crushed)

1-2 Tbsp tomato Paste

1 Package Frozen Soy Crumbles

Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper (to taste)

Fresh Romano or Parmesan Cheese

Heat skillet over medium-high heat, add 4 Tbsp of EVOO, 1 tsp red pepper flakes, 1 clove of garlic, and a dash of salt and pepper and allow to cook for 2-3 minutes (make sure the garlic doesn't burn, this will make the entire dish taste bitter).  Add the package of frozen soy crumbles – reduce the heat to medium and allow the crumbles to defrost completely – about 8-10 minutes.

YGTT Blog 015

Remove soy crumbles from skillet and put aside.

Put the skillet back on the heat, add the rest of the EVOO, red pepper flakes, garlic, rosemary, and a dash of salt and pepper and allow to cook for 2-3 minutes.  Add the can of tomatoes (if you opted for the whole plum tomatoes, take a fork and crush them once they are in the skillet) and the tomato paste.  Stir well to incorporate all of the flavors. 

YGTT Blog 017

Reduce heat to medium-low and allow to simmer for at least 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes or so.  Add more salt or pepper if needed (remember, tasting is the key to a good sauce!)

Add the soy crumbles back into the sauce and allow to heat through.  Set large pot full of water on high heat and cook pasta according to the packet's instructions.

YGTT Blog 020

Drain pasta, add the pasta to the skillet with the sauce, sprinkle with Romano or Parmesan cheese, and dig in!

YGTT Blog 024

**For all of you meat-eaters out there, don't be afraid!  I had my (very) carnivorous roommate taste my sauce and, in her words, "it doesn't taste much like meat, but it does taste good!"

COMMENTS

  1. Soo

    OK, Lis, that is so not fare! I am starving hungry and have got to go off to a meeting and not home til 9pm tonight! But we will try this as it looks so delicious and proves that it doesn’t have to have four legs in it to look and tste great!!

    March 10, 2010 at 8:56 am
  2. Emily

    Sounds fabulous Lisa!!! Can’t wait to try it.

    March 10, 2010 at 2:35 pm
  3. Rick

    Lisa, My Dad was a “little bit of this and a little bit of that” kind of guy too. He used to say that if you make a good base sauce you can add alot of interesting ingredients as long as you keep it simple… Sounds like you have done that.. Sounds interesting I’ll have to try it! Thanks

    March 10, 2010 at 7:40 pm
  4. Joanie

    Lisa: I am familiar with the soy crumbles but have not yet tried them in a sauce. Great idea! I am 100% Italian and your recipes sounds and looks yummy, I can almost taste it! Thanks for the great recipe!
    Joanie

    March 10, 2010 at 8:54 pm

Leave a Comment

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s