Wine Wednesday: Pasta

I like cooking with wine. Sometimes I even put it in the food.

A deciliter or two of red wine makes tomato sauce so much better. I always add some when I make tomato sauce for pasta or pizza, if I have a bottle at home.


Tomato and Vegetable Sauce

1 onion
2 garlic cloves
1 celery stalk
1 carrot
½ bell pepper
2 tbsp oil
1 tsp thyme
1 can crushed tomatoes (or 500 g fresh, chopped tomatoes)
1,5 dl red wine
1 tsp sugar
salt, pepper
fresh or dried herbs (basil, oregano)

optional additions:
fried mushrooms
1 dl red lentils
1 can beans

Chop the onion and garlic. Dice celery, carrot and bell pepper. Heat the oil in a sauce pan and sauté the onion with thyme about 5 minutes on low-medium heat. Add other vegetables and sauté another 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, red wine and sugar. If you’re using lentils add them at this point too, and some water. Simmer 30 minutes or longer, add some water if it looks like your sauce is getting too thick. If you’re using mushrooms or beans add them in the end of simmering. Season with salt, pepper and herbs and serve with pasta.



Wine Wednesday: Seitan Burgundy

Beef bourguignon was originally a peasant food. For reason or another, the burgundian peasants decided to simmer their food in red wine. Maybe it was a good harvest year for grapes, or maybe something else, who knows? Anyway, this is a vegan version of said recipe, substituting beef for seitan and steering clear of gourmet cuisine influences. Keep it simple.


Seitan Burgundy

3 balls basic seitan
2 garlic cloves
big handful of dried funnel chanterelles + water for soaking or 5 dl fresh mushrooms
1 big onion
3,5 dl red wine (half a bottle)
4 dl seitan cooking broth (or vegetable broth)
2 tsp thyme
4 tbsp wheat flour
4 tbsp water

Cube the seitan. Peel and mince the garlic cloves. Soak the funnel chanterelles in water. Peel the onion and cut into wedges. Heat some oil in a pot and fry seitan and garlic until nicely browned. Remove from the pot. Add more oil if needed and fry mushrooms for few minutes. Remove from the pot. Put the seitan back to pot and add wine, broth, onion and thyme. Simmer about an hour, stirring couple of times and adding more broth if needed. Stir in the mushrooms and season with pepper. Mix the flour and water together and slowly pour to the pot, stirring constantly. Bring to boil and simmer 30 minutes or longer, stirring now and then. Serve with potatoes (or pasta or rice).


Slow Food Sunday

A while ago I bragged about our new cast iron pot and we’ve made some slowly simmered stews in it lately. Usually we’ve made them on Sunday and since the cooking time is long we’ve been calling those days Slow Food Sundays. The cast iron pot is really a magic pot: you can put nearly anything in it, simmer it few hours and it always tasted delicious.

On Friday our friends gave us couple of black cardamom pods. We had never used them before, so we decided to try it in our Slow Food Sunday stew. We also put fava beans, carrots and crushed tomatoes in it. The stew was served with vegetable couscous (=couscous, celery, corn and cashews).

Fava Bean Stew

3 tbsp oil
3 big garlic cloves
1 black cardamom pod
1 tsp caraway seeds
3 big carrots (or 4-5 smaller)
1 can crushed tomatoes
1,5 dl red wine
700 g cooked fava beans
1 tsp lovage
1 tsp marjoram
1 tsp parsley
1 tsp green pepper corns

Chop the garlic cloves coarsely and crush the cardamom. Peel the carrots and cut in 1-1,5 cm slices. Heat the oil in a pot. Sauté cardamom, caraway seeds and garlic couple of minutes. Add the carrots and sauté few more minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients and enough water to cover everything. Put the lid on, put the pot into oven and bake at least couple of hours in 175 Celsius degrees.

Cute Boletes and Pasta

I found these babies on Tuesday.

They might be Orange Birch Bolete, but I’m not sure, since there are some other fungi that look very similar. Anyway they’re part of Leccinum genus, and all the similar looking species taste good so it doesn’t matter if don’t recognise them exactly. It’s enough that I know it’s one of the similar-looking-boletes. If there were a chance to confuse them with inedible or poisonous mushrooms, I wouldn’t pick them.

Wednesday I used them to make pasta sauce. Orange Birch Boletes (and the others who look like them) must always be cooked well, otherwise they can cause stomach ache. So no quick frying for them. They also turn black when cooked, so tomato sauce is better for them than creamy sauce. I had Orange Birch Bolete, but you can also use the recipe with other forest mushrooms or cultivated mushrooms.

Orange Birch Bolete Pasta

whole grain fusilli or other pasta

1,5 l cleaned and coarsely chopped Orange Birch Bolete
2 tbsp oil
1 onion
3 big garlic cloves
1 glass red wine (optional)
1 can crushed tomatoes
1-2 dl water
pinch of white pepper
small bunch of fresh basil (about 4 tbsp chopped)

Sauté the boletes in a dry pan until the excess water comes out. Discard the water or keep sautéing until it’s evaporated. Add oil and chopped onion and sauté few more minutes. Add minced garlic and sauté couple of minutes. Add crushed tomatoes, water and wine and bring to boil. Simmer covered at least 10 minutes. Meanwhile cook the pasta according the instructions on the package. Season the sauce with salt, pepper and fresh basil and mix with pasta.

Lentil Cannelloni

When I saw Kurpitsamoska’s lentil cannelloni recipe several months ago I wanted to try it. Soon my sister came to visit and asked if we could make mushroom and eggplant cannelloni, which we made and enjoyed and I forgot the lentil cannelloni recipe. Until a friend of ours told that she had made awesome vegetarian lasagne and the next day Nomad suggested that we’d have lasagne or cannelloni in the near future. On Valentine’s day I veganized Kurpitsamoska’s cannelloni and they were great.

Lentil Cannelloni

cannelloni tubes

Lentil Filling:
2 dl red lentils
2 tbsp oil
1 tbsp dried basil
1 tsp sugar
0,5 dl nutritional yeast
0,5 dl oat cream

Tomato Sauce:
2 cans crushed tomato
1 big onion
5 garlic cloves (or more)
1 glass red wine
pinch of sugar
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper
2 tsp dried basil

Boil the lentils 10-15 minutes. Drain and stir in other ingredients. Let sit a little while.

Chop the onion and mince garlic. Sauté in oil until soft. Add rest of the ingredients and simmer as long as you have patience.

Fill the cannelloni tubes with lentil filling and put them on one layer to a oven proof dish. Pour the tomato sauce over them and bake 25-30 minutes in 225 celsius degrees.