Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Spaghetti bolognese with tofu bacon

On Sunday night, the fridge had been well stocked and my cooking plans for the working week had been pretty much established, however I couldn't decide what to make for dinner. So I asked if there were any special requests. The man responded with spaghetti bolognese and my son keenly backed this up. This was an easy peasy request which I was more than happy to fulfill as it had been quite some time since we had eaten spag bol but there was one slight catch, I didn't have a bread stick to make some accompanying garlic bread with!

To serve pasta without garlic bread in this house would be like be like serving a curry without rice. It was a bit early to start preparing dinner so I decided to bake a bread stick or baguette for the sole purpose of garlic bread. I didn't give any thought to the fact that garlic bread is best made with day or two old bread though! I had made a bread stick using half of this recipe a while ago and also found some tips on forming and baking baguettes at the same time. This is how it turned out...

When we first became vegetarian, I made a spaghetti bolognese with the Sanitarium tinned vegie mince stuff and detested it immensely. It had such a strong caramel flavour that no amount of herbs seemed to be able to permeate through. Unfortunately, the man adored it and requested it often to no avail. Not long after, I discovered a bean based recipe which over time evolved into a lentil and bean sauce and this became my go-to recipe for spaghetti bolognese for several years.

Since I have been using dried TVP recently with the main purpose of using up a bag near expiry, I decided to make up a new bolognese sauce and spruce it up with some tofu bacon that was left over from another batch of scrumptious calzones the night before. The rest of it was fairly standard to my usual sauce, although I included some home-made pesto to make up for a lack of fresh herbs.

The boys were both very impressed and scoffed it down at an alarming rate. It was one of the best vegie spag bol's I have eaten and the tofu bacon added a nice touch of smoky flavour to the sauce. The garlic bread was OK but the remaining half was a lot nicer when it was prepared two days later. The spaghetti bolognese recipe will definitely be repeated.  

Tofu bacon (Adapted from a recipe on veggieboards)

350g firm tofu
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons liquid smoke

Pat tofu dry and shave into long thin slices with a cheese slicer or cut finely with a knife. Mix remaining ingredients together in a large shallow dish then add the tofu slices ensuring they all get coated with the marinade. Place in the refrigerator and marinate for 8 hours to 2 days.

Heat a non-stick frying pan and spray lightly with olive oil. Cook slices in batches until golden brown and crispy on each side. Drain on paper towels. 

Bolognese sauce

1 cup TVP granules
1 teaspoon Massel "beef" stock powder 
1 cup boiling water
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, mined
2 small carrots, diced
100g mushrooms, diced
700ml jar tomato passata
1/3 quantity tofu bacon
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon vegan pesto
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste

Place TVP with the "beef" stock powder into a heatproof bowl, add the boiling water then cover and allow to rest for 10 minutes.

Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, add the onion and fry for about 5 minutes until soft. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute, then add the carrots and mushrooms. Fry for another 5 minutes then add the passata, tofu bacon, oregano, pesto,  parsley and rehydrated TVP. Cook for another 10 minutes or until the vegetables are soft. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve with cooked pasta of your choice, topped with cheezly if desired.

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