It’s become something of a tradition for me to eat spaghetti bolognaise the evening before a race. Not that I – in my usual place at the back of the pack – think it’s going to help me go faster but just because it’s become part of the lead up to standing on the start line.
Last Sunday I took part in the Pilgrims Hospice Cycle Challenge – a 45 mile hilly route looping around Ashford and Canterbury. Despite this not actually being a race, it involved getting up early on a Sunday and wearing a number (well, actually, it was my bike that wore the number) and therefore spaghetti bolognaise was required the evening before. Unfortunately, Shaun had been at work all day and didn’t get back until 8pm, so it was too late to go to the supermarket for ingredients and start cooking. Yes, I could have been organised and gone myself earlier in the day but… I don’t know, I was probably pissing about on Facebook or something.
Still, had I had my traditional pre-race spag bol, it would have been along the lines of this one, using Quorn instead of cow, what with me being a vegetarian and that.
Quorn and Red Onion Bolognaise (serves 4)
(Taken from Leith’s Vegetarian Bible)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 red pepper, deseeded and chopped
2 carrots, finely chopped
1 leek, thinly sliced
salt and freshly ground black pepper
300g/11oz Quorn mince
1 x 400g/14oz can tomatoes
290ml/1/2 pint vegetable stock
2 tablespoons tomato puree
2 tablespoons mushroom ketchup
freshly grated Parmesan-style cheese
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan and add the onion, pepper, carrots and leek. Season with salt and pepper, cover and cook over a low heat for 10-15 minutes until softened.
- Add the Quorn mince to the vegetables and mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon. Increase the heat and allow the Quorn to colour slightly.
- Add the tomatoes (these can be liquidized for a smoother consistency, if liked), stock, tomato puree and mushroom ketchup. Cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, until the liquid is well reduced. Adjust the seasoning to taste.
- Meanwhile, bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil. Add the spaghetti and cook, uncovered, for 10-12 minutes until al dente. Drain thoroughly and rinse the spaghetti under hot running water. Drain well.
- Place the spaghetti in a warmed serving dish and pour over the Quorn bolognaise sauce.
- Serve with Parmesan-style cheese sprinkled on top of the sauce or handed separately.