reducetarian ragu

##When I first arrived in Spain about twelve years ago, generally speaking the only vegetarian option was tortilla or grilled vegetables or bizarrely a tuna fish salad! Thankfully, there’s been some re-education on that one and now Valencia boasts a host of good vegetarian & vegan restaurants. However, as I am one of those less enlightened people who will still look forward to a sizzling roast, or eat meat if it is in front of me, I am neither a vegetarian, flexitarian nor a dedicated carnivore.

I can understand all the reasons for giving up meat, but am caught between worrying about intensive farming and nostalgia for traditional animal farming and a love of fine cheeses! Therefore, I am relieved to find I have been released from my state of purgatory by a new movement called Reducetarian. A term coined to encompass a non-profit organization dedicated to reducing consumption of meat, eggs and dairy for a healthier lifestyle & decreasing the carbon footprint and the suffering of animals.

So, if you are thinking of giving up meat for Lent for religious reasons or otherwise, here is a traditionally meaty recipe (meat-free) to help you enjoy your 40 days. In my opinion, it is much improved without the meat…but then it seems I’m a reducetarian.
I hope you enjoy it!

INGREDIENTS
Reducetarian Ragu with Pasta Pappardelle

2 tablespoon olive oil for frying
150g or 2 cups of Texturized Vegetable Protein T.V.P.
1 onion finely diced
1/2 celery stalk
1 carrot diced
3 garlic cloves crushed
1 small tin of tomatoes or equivalent freshly grated
1 tablespoon tomato purée
Sprigs of fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
1 cup of red wine 250ml
1 cup of vegetable stock
1 tbsp tamari or soy sauce

Pappardelle Pasta

Freshly grated parmesan (or vegan equivalent) and parsley to serve

Method
Fry 1/2 the diced onion, one garlic clove, add the TVP and season with the tamari. Cook for a few minutes then set aside.

Next, fry the rest of the onion the celery and the carrot. Cook until soft, add the garlic and fry for a couple of minutes more. Add the herbs, the tomatoes, the tomato purée, cook for a bit before adding the wine. Leave to cook for 30 minutes until the sauce has reduced. Season with salt and pepper. With a blender, blend all the ingredients till fine. Add the TVP and cook for another 30 minutes. When ready to serve cook the Pappardelle in plenty of salted, boiling water for 10 minutes or until al dente.

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