There is something about the weather getting colder that is making me want to eat rich and hearty meals. As I flicked though this month’s Gourmet Traveller I stumbled upon a recipe for short rib ragù gnocchi and at once decided this meal needed to be consumed. One problem: beef ribs do not fall into my “I don’t eat animals’” philosophy. Solution: Create an equally delicious version of the original, substituting meat for an array of vegetables.
Plus my pasta-making machine had been building up dust in the cupboard and this was the perfect opportunity to use it. See post below for tips on making pasta.
2 large carrots diced into small cubes
3 french shallots, chopped
1 leek, finely sliced
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 medium sized eggplant cut into small cubes
2 cans of whole tomatoes
splash of red wine
dollop of tomato paste
fresh or dry oregano
freshly made pasta (dried pasta will also be fine)
parmesan to serve
Place a large pan on the stove and pour in a large lug of olive oil. Throw in the chopped carrots and sauté for a few minutes. Then add in the french shallots, leek and garlic and cook for another few minutes. When this mixture turns golden, add in the cubes of eggplant and fry for another five minutes. Add in some oil if it begins to get dry.
Now that you have your ‘meaty’ components cooking, add in the cans of tomatoes, red wine and tomato paste to get a rich red colour flowing through your dish. Wash the remains of the tomato cans out with stock to add in a bit more liquid. If you would like extra creaminess, add in a good knob of butter.
Leave this to simmer for 15-20 minutes until you reach a thick consistency. Add in the oregano right at the end.
Mix with your pasta and enjoy!
Whilst this would definitely not qualify as your traditional ragù, the well cooked carrots and eggplants provide a wholesome and meaty feel to the dish. My meat-eating boyfriend even gave it high appraise.