Mains/ Pasta

Vegetable Ragu with Pappardelle Pasta

October 20, 2020 by Emily

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An incredible Vegetable Ragu that’s so rich in flavour you’d never know it’s meat-free! Made with beautiful and simple vegetables, fresh herbs and garlic. Toss with your favourite pasta and top with plenty of parmesan cheese!

An overhead shot of a bowl of pasta with a vegetable sauce topped with parmesan cheese

This ragu is so rich in flavour and has the most beautiful texture you’d never know it’s meat-free. In fact, when Nathan first made this I was positive he had added a spoonful of N’duja or a little pancetta to the sauce. The fact is, it’s completely veggie and utterly delicious!

It does take some time (around 1 hour) to simmer away but that’s where it develops all the amazing flavour and compared to a traditional meat ragu it’s so much quicker.

Serve it with your favourite pasta, lashings of parmesan cheese and some crusty bread for moping up all of the sauce!

Ingredients – what you need

  • The vegetables – onion, carrot, celery and red bell pepper.
  • Herbs – rosemary, thyme, sage and bay leaf.
  • Dried porcini mushrooms – soaked in a little hot water for a few minutes these add a ton of incredible flavour!
  • Garlic – fresh garlic is a must, don’t use ground!
  • Stock – good quality vegetable stock (you can also use chicken stock if not vegetarian).
  • White wine – you can use either white or red wine.
  • Tomato paste – a small amount of concentrated tomato paste (puree in the UK) helps add a richer tomato flavour.
  • Butter – this is a super important ingredient it makes the ragu, rich, creamy and so delicious.
An overhead shot of all the ingredients you need to make vegetable ragu

How to make Vegetable Ragu – step by step

Prepare the vegetable stock and add the dried porcini mushrooms to the stock to rehydrate, set aside.

Add 1 tbsp of olive oil and the butter to a large deep-sided pan on a medium-low heat. Once hot add the chopped carrot, celery, onion, bell pepper and all the chopped herbs and saute for 10-15 minutes until softened but not browned (photo 1 & 2).

Step by step photos showing how to make vegetable ragu

Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute until fragrant. Add the cherry tomatoes and the white wine and simmer for 2-3 minutes until reduced slightly (photo 3).

Scoop out the porcini mushrooms from the stock and roughly chop then add to the vegetables. Add the vegetable stock, bay leaf and tomato paste (concentrate), stir to combine (photo 4).

Two photos showing a how vegetable ragu should look once cooked

Cover the pan and simmer for 30 minutes, uncover and simmer for another 20 minutes until the sauce has reduced and thickened slightly and the vegetables are tender (photo 5).

Serve the ragu with your favourite pasta or store for later (photo 6).

Top tips and recipe FAQs

  • Cutting the vegetables – make sure to cut the vegetables as finely as possible, chunky vegetables will take longer to cook. You can use a food processor but be careful to not blitz the vegetables too much.
  • Dried porcini mushrooms – these should be easy to find in most supermarkets and they add a huge amount of umami flavour to sauces. They need to be rehydrated in hot water so first quickly rinse any grit that may be on them then simply add them to the hot stock for at least 10 minutes. Remove them to roughly chop then add them to the vegetables along with the stock.
  • Butter – the butter helps give this ragu a beautiful richness so try to not skip it.
  • Herbs – I recommend using fresh herbs for best results but don’t worry if you don’t have all 3 you can use just one!
What should I serve this with?

This sauce is perfect served with pasta. Any shape or size will do but I love to serve it with pappardelle pasta and some crusty bread.

Can I make this alcohol free?

To make the sauce alcohol free simply replace the white wine with extra stock.

Can you freeze this ragu?

Yes, this sauce freezes really well just store it in sealed containers or freezer bags then thaw completely before reheating.

A close up of a forkful of pasta with vegetable sauce

More Italian vegetarian recipes you might like

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Step By Step Photos AboveMost of our recipes come with step by step photos, helpful tips and tricks to make it perfectly first time and even video!

Vegetable Ragu with Pappardelle Pasta

An incredible Vegetable Ragu that's so rich in flavour you'd never know it's meat-free! Made with beautiful and simple vegetables, fresh herbs and garlic. Toss with your favourite pasta and top with plenty of parmesan cheese!
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 227kcal
Author Emily Kemp

Ingredients

  • 1 large carrot or 2 small, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 stick celery finely chopped
  • 1 large large onion peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper finely chopped (seeds and stalk removed)
  • 3 cloves garlic peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 cup fresh cherry tomatoes cut into quarters
  • 1 tbsp fresh rosemary roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme roughly chopped
  • 3-4 sage leaves roughly chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ cup white wine (125ml)
  • 2 cups vegetable stock (500ml)
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste (tomato puree UK)
  • 2 tbsp dried porcini mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp butter (30g)
  • salt and pepper to season

For serving

  • 14 oz pappardelle pasta or pasta of choice (400g)

Instructions

  • Prepare the vegetable stock and add the dried porcini mushrooms to the stock to rehydrate, set aside.
  • Add 1 tbsp of olive oil and the butter to a large deep-sided pan on a medium-low heat. Once hot add the chopped carrot, celery, onion, bell pepper and all the chopped herbs and saute for 10-15 minutes until softened but not browned.
  • Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute until fragrant. Add the cherry tomatoes and the white wine and simmer for 2-3 minutes until reduced slightly.
  • Scoop out the porcini mushrooms from the stock and roughly chop then add to the vegetables. Add the vegetable stock, bay leaf and tomato paste (concentrate), stir to combine.
  • Cover the pan and simmer for 30 minutes, uncover and simmer for another 20 minutes until the sauce has reduced and thickened slightly and the vegetables are tender.
  • Prepare your pasta until al dente (around 8-10 minutes check packet instructions) and toss with the ragu, serve with grated parmesan.

Notes

  • Cutting the vegetables – make sure to cut the vegetables as finely as possible, chunky vegetables will take longer to cook. You can use a food processor but be careful to not blitz the vegetables too much.
  • Dried porcini mushrooms – these should be easy to find in most supermarkets and they add a huge amount of umami flavour to sauces. They need to be rehydrated in hot water so first quickly rinse any grit that may be on them then simply add them to the hot stock for at least 10 minutes. Remove them to roughly chop then add them to the vegetables along with the stock.
  • Butter – the butter helps give this ragu a beautiful richness so try to not skip it.
  • Herbs – I recommend using fresh herbs for best results but don’t worry if you don’t have all 3 you can use just one!
  • Storage – leftover ragu will keep well in the fridge for 2-3 days or can be frozen.
  • Nutritional information is for the sauce alone and does not include the pasta.

Nutrition

Calories: 227kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 15mg | Sodium: 148mg | Potassium: 579mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 4502IU | Vitamin C: 55mg | Calcium: 41mg | Iron: 1mg
Helpful Info for All Recipes
  • I always use extra virgin olive oil in all of my recipes unless stated otherwise
  • When I use canned or jarred tomatoes of any kind I always use this brand for the best results and flavour
  • All vegetables are medium sized unless stated otherwise
  • All recipes are tested and developed using a fan (convection) oven
  • Find out more about how nutrition is calculated here
  • Check out our must have Italian Pantry Staples here
  • You can also find all our Essential Kitchen Tools for Italian Cooking here
Did you try this recipe?Mention @insidetherustickitchen or tag #insidetherustickitchen! We’d love you see what you’re getting up to in the kitchen!

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4 Comments

  • Reply
    Brian
    November 3, 2020 at 4:04 pm

    Is there a certain white wine you recommend for this recipe?

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