This recipe is like an old friend. We have been cooking it for years and it has stood the test of time. The idea origainally came from a cookbook by Rose Elliot, a famous British Vegetarian Cookery Writer. We didn’t find the original recipe actually worked as it was written, so we have adjusted the ingredients and made it our own. In addition to the ingredients listed below we have recently discovered that adding a layer of roasted beetroot slices, between the pasta and the bolognese topping worked really well. So this is a great recipe base into which you can throw whatever roasted vege’s you have leftover.
In your kitchen, you can easily adapt this recipe by adding more or less of things such as garlic, herbs and seasoning, or adding lentils of your choice or greens that are in season. So have fun with it…
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, peeled and chopped
- 2-4 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 8 oz split brown or red lentils, washed and drained
- 800 g crushed tomatoes
- 800g tomato puree
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 bunch beetroot leaves or other greens (kale or chard)
- parsley or other fresh finely chopped herbs (basil or oregano)
- 400g spaghetti or tagliatelle
- flaked or grated Parmesan cheese
- 800ml (or more) water
Pop your olive oil into a frying pan, make it a big one, we use our 30cm stainless steel for this recipe and its the perfect size. When your oil is hot, throw in your onion, stir and then cover and cook on moderate heat for 5-7 minutes. Add your garlic and cook for just a few seconds before adding the cinnamon,lentils, tomatoes, brown sugar and 800ml of water. Stir it all together and then leave to cook, uncovered for about 30 minutes. Stir your sauce occasionally to prevent the sauce from sticking to the pan, and towards the end just check on whether the lentils are getting tender (they should be firm but soft). You can also add your green leafy veg and finely chopped herbs right about now, just before the sauce is done, so they are not overcooked. Your sauce is done once all the wateriness has gone out of the tomatoes and the lentils are tender. If your lentils need more cooking time, just add more water (or try a good splash (1/2 cup) of red wine, as we do at this point).
Start your water boiling 15 minutes into the sauce as most pasta takes 10-12 minutes until tender. Make sure you add a generous amount of salt to your water and a splash of olive oil too, this helps stop the pasta sticking together.
When it’s done, we love to lay out all the pasta in a big bowl, drizzle with more olive oil, then spoon over a generous helping of the sauce and add cheese, salt and pepper as desired. More herbs can also be sprinkled on at this point.