1 onion, cut into 6-8 wedges
2 sticks celery
1 whole head of garlic, cut in half
2 carrots, cut into 6 sticks
½ sweet potato cut up into thick slices
3 big mushrooms, stalks removed
3 tablespoons or so of olive oil
Salt and pepper
1/3 cup brown lentils (uncooked)
1/3 cup red wine (I use the wine I intend to drink with it)
500ml vegetable (or chicken) stock
1 x 400g can of tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup milk
1 tablespoon butter
Fresh pappardelle pasta
Put your oven on to 210°C. Evenly space out your vegetables on a tray. Drizzle with about 1 tablespoon of olive oil and give everything a good coat. Throw into the oven for 30 minutes – you want them to get a bit of colour on them. Blitz your roasted vegetables in a food processor so they are very finely chopped, almost like a paste.
Heat a large deep frypan over medium heat. Add the remaining oil, your veggie puree and cook for two minutes. Add lentils and mix everything together for a further two minutes.
Pour in your wine, stock, tomatoes, tomato paste and give everything a good stir. Add bay leaf, season and bring to the boil. Boil for a few minutes then reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for around 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Remove lid, add milk and cook, uncovered for a further 20 to 30 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in butter. If you’re not feeding a crowd, I freeze half my ragù for a rainy day.
Meanwhile, bring a large saucepan of water to a lively boil and season as salty as the sea. Add your pasta and cook until al dente. Scooping out a cup of pasta water.
Toss in hot pasta, Parmigiano Reggiano and 1/3 cup of pasta water to loosen things up. Give everything a good toss around, adding more water if you need. Everything should be loose and relaxed – just like you. Serve with extra cheese.