Recipe:

Strozzapretti with Vegan Bolognesa Sauce

by Chef Daniel Morduchowicz

There's something special about making your own extruded pastas. You have complete control of the ingredients and textures. You can also come up with variations using your creativity and your own taste.

- Chef Daniel Morduchowicz

Recipe

Course
Main
Cuisine
Italian, Vegan
Servings
4
Calories Per Serving
764
Prep Time
30 minutes
Cook Time
1 hour for the sauce, 5 minutes for the pasta
No resting time needed
Total Time
95 minutes

Ingredients

For the pasta
  • 400 grams semolina flour
  • 152 grams water
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
For the vegan sauce Aromatics:
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 4 medium cloves garlic
Main ingredients
  • 2 cups Beyond crumbled meat (you can substitute for crimini mushrooms, chopped very fine resembling ground meat)
  • 2 cups red wine
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 cups canned or bottled really good quality tomatoes, such as DOP San Marzano’s or Mutti passata di pomodoro
Herbs and Condiments
  • 10 sprigs thyme
  • 2 large bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp Kosher Salt

Instructions

Begin your cooking session by making the sauce. It takes time for all the ingredients to exchange flavors with one another, resulting in rich, complex flavors.
Prep
  1. Fine dice the onions and the bell peppers.
  2. Mince the garlic.
  3. If your tomatoes are canned, blend them until liquid.
Sauce
  1. Add a bit of olive oil to cover the bottom of your pan.
  2. Turn heat up to medium low.
  3. Sweat the onions and bell peppers with a pinch of salt. The salt will help in releasing water from inside the vegetable cells, with the goal of concentrating their flavors. We are not looking to brown these ingredients, just getting them more flavorful. Do not go by time, but rather look at your ingredients and see how they transform. They are done when softer and shiny. The onions will also be translucent.
  4. Push the aromatics to the sides of your pan, add a little bit more olive oil in the center, and cook your garlic in this area for about 10 seconds. Mix with the rest of the aromatics. Mix everything together.
  5. Add the meat or the mushrooms to the pan, and cook thoroughly at high heat until thoroughly cooked. In the past, when using non vegan meat, I would allow the beef to brown very thoroughly and create a glaze in the bottom of the pan. Trying to do this with vegan meat ends up with a burn taste that was not pleasant.
  6. Once the meat is cooked add the wine and allow the alcohol evaporate. Judge this using your sense of smell.
  7. Add the vegetable stock and the tomatoes.
  8. Add the thyme and the bay leaves.
  9. Stir everything and adjust your heat so the sauce simmers.
  10. Let the sauce simmer for at least 1 hour, tasting and stirring occasionally, adding a bit of salt about half way through cooking.
  11. Your sauce will become richer and thicker.
  12. Adjust the salt level to your taste.
  13. Remove the herbs and get ready to cook the pasta.
Pasta
  1. Measure the water and the semolina flour in grams and place them in separate bowls.
  2. Add 1/2 of the semolina to the water, mixing with a large spoon.
  3. Add all the olive oil to this mixture.
  4. Add the rest of the water and mix thoroughly, this time using your hands so you can judge the texture and feel of the dough. It should not be sticky as this would cause the individual noodles to stick to each other, but it should not feel too dry either. If it is too dry, you can add small amounts of water and olive oil. You will get a better intuition of what to look for after you’ve made this a couple of times.
  5. Cover the dough so it does not dry up.
  6. You will be working with small pieces of dough at a time, a little bigger than a golf ball.
  7. Outfit your extruder with the proper dye: s shaped for strozzapretti, hollow for bucatini.
  8. Feed your dough one piece at a time through the extruder, pushing into the feeder with your fingers on one hand, cranking the handle with the other hand.
  9. Cut the noodles with a sharp knife once they are the proper length. Traditional strozzapretti are about 2 inches long. You can make them shorter or longer, as you desire.
  10. Place them on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet making sure they are apart from each other so they do not stick. Sprinkle some semolina on top and make sure to shake the pan once in a while to prevent sticking.
Cooking the pasta
  1. Fill a medium to large size pot with water. Salt the water heavily. The water should taste like the ocean.
  2. Transfer some of sauce to another medium size pan, or a small wok.
  3. Put the pasta in the salted water and cook until it floats to the surface. Taste the pasta to achieve the level of doneness that you want.
  4. Drain with a slotted spoon or spider strainer and mix in the pan containing the sauce that you separated.
  5. Cook on medium heat together, while mixing thoroughly either with a spoon or by tossing.
  6. Serve immediately.

Notes

I love making extruded pasta. Using the same dough I can come up with many shapes, suitable for different sauces allowing me to come up with completely new ideas. Extruded pastas are by default vegan, as the only ingredients used are flour and water. The myriad pasta shapes are designed to trap sauce. For this strozzapretti, the S shape allows this to happen on both sides of the noodle, which creates a wonderful feel as everything comes together in your mouth. Even though we are calling this sauce vegan bolognese, it really is a remote adaptation of the original recipe that takes many different kinds of pork and takes hours to cook. This sauce can be considered a reduction, as we are evaporating water from the different ingredients in many stages: the aromatics, the wine, the broth, the tomatoes We can use either a good quality vegan “meat” (my favorite brand is Beyond, for either meat or sausages), or mushroom duxelles: button or crimini mushrooms chopped fine.

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