There’s a fennel bulb going bad in the veg box. The weather’s been getting worse (warming up, slushy, grey, wet, evil), I’ve been sniffly and Benedict Cumberbatch is apparently in town, and I’m too tired and sniffly to go out and stalk… What’s a girl to do?
I caught a random Jamie Oliver rerun on TV where he made one of his quick meals, which included a tomato ragu sauce. I decided to give it a go, my own style. A lot of ragu sauces start with celery. I hate celery. It’s the only (edible) thing in the world I hate. There’s also Nickelback – but let’s not get into that… Basically, instead of celery, my ragu sauce has fennel.
- 1 fennel bulb, cut into cubes
- 1 big carrot, peeled and sliced
- 1 tin of whole, peeled tomatoes
- 1 clove of garlic, pressed
- a bit of red chilli
- a handful of minitomatoes
- a handful of fresh basil
- some fresh coriander
- black pepper
- balsamic vinegar
Peel your carrot and slice or chop. Trim and chop your fennel up, too. Put them in a pot with water (you can add a bit of milk, the fennel’s taste will be milder then) and a pinch of salt, and bring to the boil. Cook until soft-ish. Get a big pan or a dish with depth and put the cooked veg into it. Pour a tin of whole tomatoes in, followed by minitomatoes, basil, coriander and chilli. Press a clove of garlic in. Whizz them into a sauce with a handheld mixer. Put the pan on the stove and heat it up. Let the sauce cook for a while. And you’re done. Use it as pasta sauce, adding minced meat or bacon bits and mushrooms (my favourite), or on its own.
THE NEXT DAY… Hungry, I ate my ragu with bacon and mushrooms and pasta so quickly, I forgot to take pictures… But the next day (today) I took out the rest of the ragu sauce from the fridge, where I’d stored it in a container conveniently. I fried some chopped onion, mushroom and bacon bits before adding the ragu, and cooked them all together. The pasta was boiling away all the while, and in 10 minutes I was done. Just stir the pasta in with the sauce and let it simmer for a bit. I’m having some at home, and taking the rest to play rehearsal.
Who needs Benedict Cumberbatch! I’ve got ragu! (No, really, Benedict, we were having pathetic weather this weekend, but you know, the coffee is good, so it’s worth, um, coming back for… And Nickelback, the celery of music, we don’t want you.)