I did a simple all in one spaghetti a while ago when the sun was shining and a light pasta dish was so welcome with a glass of wine in the garden. But those days are gone, the sun is waning and the evenings are closing in – it is after all November! This hearty winter pasta is based on the all in one style but is far more robust and well, hearty! We had a friend coming to dinner and I decided to make it a little bit special and quickly fried a few meat free balls for topping! It went down very well indeed and second helpings were in order.
I have used a pasta which I had never seen or tried before called Casarecce – it is not actually a tube like penne, but more like rolled flat strips of pasta. It worked beautifully and absorbed the sauce far more effectively than penne – a shape of pasta I have never really warmed to. So grab yourself a pack of Casarecce next time you’re shopping – I am now hooked and well stocked up.
400 grams pasta (I used Casarecce which worked beautifully – available at Sainsburys in UK)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
3 large tomatoes, about 400 grams, chopped
200 grams fresh spinach or equivalent amount frozen spinach (chop if leaves are big)
1 cup fresh flat leaf parsley (I buy big bunches, wash, chop and freeze – works well)
40 grams dehydrated soya mince (frozen vegan mince is fine too – about 2 cups)
1 tablespoon soya sauce
1 teaspoon oregano
100ml red wine (optional, but it does add to the flavour)
Salt to taste
Vegan meat balls (optional – I used VegiDeli available at Holland & Barretts in UK and Goodness Direct online)
Onion & garlic with tomatoes added
Mixture ready for the pasta to go in
- Fry onions and garlic in olive oil on low heat until translucent but not brown
- Add chopped tomatoes, cover and cook for about 15 minutes until mushy
- Add chopped parsley and fry for a couple of minutes to release flavours
- Add spinach, soya sauce, oregano and wine
- Cover and cook for a further 15 minutes until spinach has wilted and ingredients well mixed
- Add 650ml of water and the Casarecce. Bring to boil, reduce heat and let it cook gently – packet says 10-12 minutes, but check. Keep stirring and check for salt. Best to keep a kettle on the boil in case you need a drop more water.
- Fry the vegan meat balls and add before serving